We recently asked futurist Dr. James Canton about trends for 2011 in our last issue of The Watercooler, and he suggested some new ways for leaders to lead. In my opinion, the mentality that leaders and managers need for the near future and beyond is one of “don’t tell – ask.”
The manager of the future needs the skills to hold honest, real, human conversations with an employee that considers the whole person – not just the part that comes to work. The manager’s role needs to be more of a coach or “people developer.” Great coaches – not the sports kind, but the personal kind – don’t tell. They ask. They ask employees how they want to assess themselves, what they observe about their own actions, and how they want to approach their own improvement.
You can start by asking about goals. What does “success” mean to that person? The answer may surprise you! When you show an interest in the whole person, you can find out how to help that person reach that definition of “success.” Employees will be more interested in becoming the manager’s partner in the business if the manager steps up to be the employee’s partner in life, both inside and outside of work.
Have you had any experiences where a boss treated you as “part of the machine” instead of a real person who had an actual life outside of the workplace? Or better still, had a boss helped you reach your own goals as well as the goals of the company? Have you been either one of those managers? I’d love to hear your stories and the results. Talk to me!