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Stop Telling, Start Asking

Ask More Questions

Contemporary workplaces are still very much dominated by a directive leadership style where directors, managers, supervisors, and team leaders give orders to their “subordinates.” This leadership style is outdated as it neglects the wisdom of the crowd and it disengages those lower in the organizational hierarchy. In this featured resource article, the Corporate Rebels remind us that the world is in desperate need of a new kind of leadership!

Highlights from the Article

Leaders in the most inspiring and progressive organizations around the world don’t tell others what to do but, instead, they inspire and support them using a coach-like approach. This approach requires, amongst other things, healthy dose of authenticity and humility on the part of these positional leaders.

Here are five distinguishing characteristics of coach-like leaders …

1. They craft an inspiring vision. These leaders craft a compelling vision and inspire everyone in the organization to pursue that vision with them. They embody an uncommon combination of humility and rebelliousness as they have a strong vision while being very open to let employees themselves decide how to get there.

2. They embrace their followers as equals. The leaders of the world’s most inspiring workplaces constantly ask their people what they want and what they need to be able to perform better.

3. They destroy the ivory tower. Inspiring workplaces highly value intrinsic equality. Status symbols and privilege are destroyed. Within these organizations authority is no longer linked to a hierarchical position, but rather by the ability to lead.

4. They ask for help. Inspiring leaders ask for help from employees instead of directing them to do things their way. It’s their intention to involve and engage everyone in the process to reach the goals of the organization as they believe strongly in the wisdom of the crowd.

5. They trust their employees. Inspiring leaders allow teams to work together to reach their goals and trust teams to execute projects by themselves in their own way. They don’t treat employees like kids, but like responsible adults. There is one important disclaimer: the project and goals should be concrete, clear and achievable. Once leadership communicates goals that are fuzzy, vague or impossible to achieve people will give up even before they even have started.

The predominant leadership style of the twentieth century will not work in the modern age of rapid change and uncertainty. Supportive, coach-like leadership can be a successful alternative for the outdated directive leadership approach. This leadership style proves to be able to tap into the huge engagement potential that is dormant in many of our traditional workplaces.

But be aware: it is not an easy way to lead. It is perhaps the most challenging leadership style one can practice. It requires a strong personality, authenticity, vision, commitment, courage, humility, common sense and perseverance. But for the leaders who are willing to invest in this new way of leading, for the ones that have the courage and the perseverance, it could give rise to enormous success.

The Gifted Perspective

We strongly agree that “the predominant leadership style of the twentieth century will not work in the modern age of rapid change and uncertainty." We often wonder, “Why do leaders keep doing more of what doesn’t work related to managing people hoping that things will change? There is a better way!

By doing less telling and more asking and partnering with your colleagues and employees, you can create an inspired workplace by unleashing the power of an innovative and collective form of leadership that capitalizes on everyone’s unique gifts. We want to help accelerate that shift from a focus on hierarchical leaders (singular) to collective leadership (plural).

We will partner with you to coach, consult, support, and encourage you through the change process involved in becoming an enlightened, coach-like leader. Contact us today about individual leadership coaching or our Teams That Talk™ coaching approach!


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