What are you willing to give up to lead effectively?

The Marketplace is evolving faster and with more complexity, which means keeping up is getting harder and more complex, as well.

Workplace environments are still bogged down by meeting after meeting, with the most recent data indicating the majority of those meetings are unnecessary. A recent survey of 182 senior managers in a range of industries revealed that:

1. 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work.

2. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient.

3. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking.

4. 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.

What’s even more unsettling is that this data hasn’t changed since the earth cooled! I’ve been out of the Corporate environment for a number of years, but it was the same back then, as well.

For today’s leaders, three questions have to be asked and answered:

1. Why are these meetings still as ineffective today as in the past?

2. Why do leaders refuse to change in the face of such irrefutable data?

3. What do today’s leaders need to be willing to give up to lead more effectively?

The answer to the first question is that there’s simply no point to the meeting; there’s no agenda, and as such, most turn into a run-a-way train; there’s too many voices because too many are running for office. (You know what I mean.); the real issues are never discussed because there’s no premise; and without a premise, there’s no conclusion.

The answer to the second question is really very simple. The most common leadership style in the workplace today is still Autocratic, meaning I’m the boss, you do what I say.

You can study any data you’d like regarding the most effective and sustainable leadership style, not only in terms of people, but in terms of productivity and profitability, and the most effective is either Situational or Transformational Leadership.

Yet, in the face of all that data, directive or dictatorial still carries the day.

The answer to the third question is even simpler than the second. The most effective leaders have to be willing to give up the need for control, be willing to share the power, be willing to invite feedback (especially negative feedback), be willing to trust by taking a chance on people, be willing to give credit where it’s due, be willing to admit mistakes, and be willing to show vulnerability, humility and empathy, where it’s required. For Autocratic leaders, because of their personality traits and behaviors, this is simply impossible.

Shifting workplace environments and the attending changes in organizational structure and function today are being so culturally impacted, that Autocratic or Totalitarian leaders are expiring almost as fast as they’re being given leadership roles. We’re seeing that globally, as well.

People today are just not going to put up with it anymore because in a tight economy, where there are choices, they don’t have to.

My mentor, Sam Walton, said Treat your people as partners. In turn, they will treat you as a partner, and together you will all perform beyond your wildest expectations.

Truth Be Told, today’s leaders have to be willing to zero in on caring for others. As they treat their people, so they will be treated.

Published by The Leadership Consortium

Maxie Carpenter was formerly Vice President of HR & Talent Development for Wal-Mart Stores. After a 27-year career, he began to pursue a number of other interests, which included alternative education, nonprofits, consulting, writing and public speaking.

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