The unveiling of the iPhone in 2007 changed history and the trajectory of technology. Today, you probably don't think twice about the incredible features of your smartphone. You expect the camera to be phenomenal, the screen pixelation to be crystal clear, the audio to be crisp, and the processing to be fast. As you draft an email or respond to a text, edit a document, or review a presentation on the computer in your hand, you forget that it wasn't always like this. Just 15 years ago, many people stood by their Blackberries for the convenience of a keyboard, an incredible feature surpassing Nokia and Razor phones that required you to press the “7” key four times to type the letter "s". Do you remember this simple time? When it was still faster to make a phone call than to text a friend? But then Blackberry arrived, giving us a larger screen and an entire keypad to quickly type out messages. We were comfortable here, familiar with the minicomputer we held in our palms. What was this strange device with a touchscreen? How do you even know what letter you’re typing? Many people stood strong and believed there was no way this thing called an iPhone would last long.
But thank goodness they were wrong. And thank goodness we adapted, riding the technology wave, into faster, more convenient ways of communication. But could you imagine if you had held on to your old communication ways? If you had been unwilling to let go of your Blackberry, Razor, or landline? Similar to how we must evolve to stay relevant with ever-changing technology, we must also evolve in leadership. If we want to remain relevant in a changing business world, it is time to let go of old ways of leading and begin leading differently.
Old Ways vs. New Ways
The leadership style known as command and control is no longer the most effective form of leadership. This leadership style celebrates authority and mimics a top-down bureaucracy. Privilege and power rest in the senior leadership team, along with all decision-making and control of the company. Employees have little autonomy and are measured by their ability to perform within specific standards and procedures. In today's work culture, employees are rejecting this type of environment, desiring autonomy, trust, and collaboration with a growing preference for hybrid work situations. The new preferred leadership style promotes trust and trustworthiness. Employees must trust their leaders to respect them and work hard for them. They also need to feel that their leadership trusts them.
How to be a Trustworthy Leader
To be viewed as a trustworthy leader, you’ll need to make a few adjustments to your leadership style, letting go of old habits and preferences. Rather than holding your cards close to your chest, you’ll need to be vulnerable with your team. Share your weaknesses, admit your mistakes, and be honest about where the company stands. Ask your employees for their input, discover the strengths of your team members, and allow them to fill in your gaps, regardless of their title. Instead of micromanaging and controlling your team, empower them to do the work. Use team meetings to collaborate on a shared goal. Then, release your team to achieve that goal together.
How to Be a Trusting Leader
As you craft a culture of autonomy and trust, your openness paves the way for your employees to be open in return. A trusting leader listens. Give ample opportunity for feedback, and listen to what works and what does not from the men and women on the front lines. All decision-making cannot remain with the senior leadership team in the corner office. Allow your employees to speak up in meetings, encourage participation, and use their ideas. Innovation and elevated performance thrive in environments where employees feel heard. You can inspire your team by establishing a clear purpose. Employees are more dedicated when there is a shared objective and intention behind the work being done. When you are convinced everyone is working toward the same goal, for the same reason, you can trust that the work will not only be accomplished but will be done with excellence.
When leaders display both trust and trustworthiness, employee satisfaction and performance increase. Do not get left behind by refusing to learn a new leadership style. If you want your company to thrive in this new business culture, contact Front Line Leadership today. Our unique programs are designed to equip your leadership teams to provide clear direction, reduce conflict, and provide feedback so that your employees learn to trust their leaders and leaders learn to trust their employees. To learn more, contact us today.