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It’s time to discard old-school management styles

File pic: Leadership styles

DO you know that business leaders deeply rooted in the past will not lead you into the future. Whether you like it or not, the idea of the “traditional” workplace has been drastically altered by the effects of the pandemic.

Not only has the way we view the workplace transformed completely, but everything we thought we knew has been flipped on its head. In all fairness, management styles have completely changed. There are numerous old management styles that must be changed as they are no longer relevant.

Many leadership practices that made sense even a decade ago are outdated now as more agile and collaborative leadership approaches gain traction. Hierarchical organisations that do not provide employees with autonomy or consider their input are no longer working.

It is crucial to point out that the technology, mobility and the rise of a generation of digital-native graduates are changing workplace demands more quickly, thus making certain traditional leadership practices inapplicable. The command and control leadership model that may have worked in the past is on the verge of extinction, and most companies that don't adjust may find it very hard to survive.

Ineffective management styles

Managing like a dictator. Dictatorial leadership focuses on the leader instead of anyone else. The style is where one person has control over the decision-making process. Rarely do the employers ask for suggestions from subordinates. The manner of giving orders is disrespectful. Nowadays, in most settings, this style of management is unlikely to succeed, especially if you are dealing with professionals or high-level employees. Either there will be severe demoralisation or the employees may soon seek more respectful environments where they are appreciated.

Ignoring digital transformation

Without prioritising digital transformation, any business, however, large and successful, or small and adaptable, is in danger of collapse. The world is moving faster thanks to technology, and this has contributed to the evolution of technology itself. In a short timeframe, the average consumer has gone from making purchasing decisions on the high street to doing it on their sofa with their phone in hand. More data than ever is being collected, and businesses must keep up with the pace to survive.

Procrastinating on digital transformation will come back to haunt you later. Business owners and leaders need to understand that right now, they may not be fully aware of the consequences of their inaction on digital transformation hence they need to embrace it.

Failure to market effectively on the internet

In the first place, do you know that there are many companies that still do not have a website? Even those with websites often have the wrong content and make no effort to attract people to visit their site. Plenty of old-timers believe that it is an unnecessary expense and that past ways of marketing are sufficient for their needs.

However, a large and rapidly growing part of the population now use the internet as their primary source of information. Ignoring this market severely limits the company’s sales potential. Digital marketing benefits businesses of all sizes by giving them access to the mass market at an affordable price. The main advantage of digital marketing is that a targeted audience can be reached in a cost-effective and measurable way.

Offering insufficient compensation for key personnel

Ignoring compensation issues at your organisation can lead to unhappy workers, low morale, decreased productivity, and increased staff turnover. Skilled personnel is getting harder to find. If you do not offer competitive salaries, you will find it difficult to hire and retain the needed people.

Disregarding compensation problems in your organisation can significantly impact your workers, productivity, and profits. Not only can you get in trouble legally for not providing equal pay for equal work, but you may have a massive turnover if there are appealing offers elsewhere. Therefore, to keep your team happy, you must take steps to identify compensation issues in your organisation and fix them.

Ignoring international developments

Knowing about developments abroad that may affect your business is becoming more and more important as our economies become more interdependent.

This is most critical if you are about to make decisions that entail long-term commitment because by the time you feel the effects of a relevant event abroad, it may already be costly to make changes. If you are on the verge of deciding on investing in new production facilities, you will have to factor in the effect of events happening abroad.

Not adapting to changes in customer preferences

One of the most dangerous things to do is simply to not change when your market has evolved and drifted towards your competitors’ offerings. An example of this is the shift in the qualities people are looking for when buying personal computers.

At first, people considered only the technical strengths of computers; later on, design and aesthetics played a large role in their buying decisions. The manufacturers that did not adapt lost market share to those who embraced the change earlier.

Old versus new leadership style

Many organisations still practise the outdated hierarchical and rigid style of leadership, where managers command their teams, enforce inflexible policies and don’t welcome input from employees.

Companies favouring the old leadership style are mostly managed by men and women who were excluded from official leadership decisions. Also, there was little diversity. The top reason HR managers cited for the longstanding lack of diversity in leadership roles was “not having enough diverse leadership talent in the pipeline.”

The new generation of leaders

People need leaders with empathy, compassion and an ability to show support. Leaders who follow new leadership styles solicit multiple perspectives and know that differing opinions can improve a team's creativity over time. The new generation of leaders creates a collaborative and team-based work environment to empower employees to use their judgement.

Organisations need leaders who can adapt and adjust their approaches to meet the demands of a fast-changing, unpredictable world. Therefore, instead of perfecting a specific leadership method, leaders need to develop and broaden their behavioural range to become versatile leaders.

  • Emmanuel Zvada writes in his own capacity. He is an award-winning Global HR Practitioner and the Managing Consultant for 3rdeye Africa Consulting Group Zimbabwe and Namibia. For comments inbox or call +263771467441


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