Of course, if you are moving away from a ‘parental telling’ style and towards an ‘adult asking’ leadership style, you are also going to have to stop and listen too! There is no more disrespectful a leadership interaction than asking a question but not stopping to listen to the answer.I know that’s going to take some more of your time and I know your time is precious; but the very act of encouraging your team to interact with you in an adult way is going to reap you many more rewards – including saving your time down the line – than a parental telling style ever will. A word of warning, however – your team may well be suffering from a career lifetime of parental leadership styles and a lack of adult interaction and care at work, so they will have become ‘conditioned’ to this. A more adult form of workplace expectation may be strange and confusing at first, so be patient. This is a journey, not a one-off process and you won’t be able to turn your team into functional adults in the workplace in five minutes, especially if you’re working with a long-term legacy of parental leadership styles. But it is worth persisting with – so that you end up with a team of intelligent, intuitive, functional adults who can come to work, do their jobs well and free you up so that you can do yours too. Tracy Kite is author of Love to Lead (£14.99, Panoma Press). She has many years of experience in the design, delivery and implementation and evaluation of learning and leadership development programmes. Her work is focussed on achieving strategic and operational leadership excellence and a defined return on investment for organisations.
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