Does the thought of issuing orders and having your loyal minions follow those orders without question make you jealous?
Do you yearn for the “good old days” when people just did what they were told?
There’s nothing wrong with that, if you are the Wizard of Oz or some other kind of dictator.
But if you are a leader in the 21st century, it’s time to move beyond the top down, autocratic leadership style of the good old days.
Leadership is not a check-the-box exercise. Learning from everything around you is. The best leaders listen to new ideas; they don’t eschew new ideas or technology as a “fad”.
It’s easy to stay in your office behind the curtain, thinking that you are doing the important work but you must get out and talk to people or you risk finding a little dog tugging at your heels that isn’t afraid of smoke and lights.
The Man Behind The Curtain routine doesn’t cut it these days.
- Too much mystery. Most leaders don’t speak through fog machines or projectors but they can cloak themselves in unnecessary levels of mystery. Of course, there is a line between information leaders must keep confidential and being authentic and transparent. The key is not straying too far over that line in one direction or another.
- Never Leaving Your Office. This applies to everyone, but especially to leaders. Yes, I know you spend most of your day in meetings but you must make it a priority to get out and see your team. Some easy ways to do this include:
- Take the long way back to your office, the way that takes you past more people. Even on the busiest days, this is an easy way simply say “hi.”
- Try eating lunch in the cafeteria instead of sitting in your office every day; you would be surprised what you hear in the lunch line and its good to change your surroundings
- Using One Method of Communication. The wizard only spoke (really ordered) through his projector. If you are still communicating to your employees the same way you did ten years ago, it’s time to diversify. There are a variety of new ways to communicate:
- Video conferencing sites like Skype
- Traditional office communicators such as Lync
TLDR: You are not being paid to sit in your comfort zone all day, get out and talk to people and try something new!
*This post original appeared on PerformanceICreate in February 2012 and has been edited
You Win With People
Also published on Medium.