Sorry. There is no one model.
I love the new leaders. I admit, I spend many hours watching TED Talks and enjoying podcasts from some of the new generation of thought leaders like Godin, Gladwell and Fried. The style I have developed in parallel feels at home in their irreverent speech patterns and disdain for structure for structure’s sake. If you are a regular reader here or have heard me speak, you know that I share the more direct approach they love.
Informal is fine when informal is appropriate. The concept of ‘appropriate’ is what we are talking about in this blog. In an effort to allow people to discover their own personal best direction, some new age managers (or worse yet, leaders – and there is a difference) have abandoned suture. Deadlines are not the devil. Requirements actually matter. People, whether they admit it or not, like a roadmap to success.
While not one of the new world leadership czars, Ken Blanchard is one of the most impactful people I have ever met. His work on Situational Leadership was powerful when I first trained on it in 1992 and is just as true now.
There is no one style for all people or even for the same person in different situations. While a given person may be strong enough in an area to receive delegated work and prosper in one area (or even one task) that same person may require and / or demand a more directive approach for a different task. The ‘loosey goosey’ style that seems to be so ‘live and let live’ may simply kill them.
So before you skip off to enjoy your Monster energy drink at lunch as you sit under a tree and hope your team enjoys its freedom and prospers, realize that sometimes your team needs you to lead by setting expectations.
Sometimes it makes sense that trains use tracks. Sometimes it just sets up a collision. You have to figure out when to stay on track and when to venture off. You also have to help your teams make the same choices.
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