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MODULE 9 - HOW CAN I STOP BEING A TRADITIONAL MANAGER?

Updated: May 11



Who is a TRADITIONAL MANAGER?


Traditional leaders in a business organization can be identified from a mile away! How?


These leaders tend to adhere to established norms and practices, often displaying a more conservative approach. Here are some typical traits associated with traditional leadership:


  1. Authoritarian Approach: Traditional leaders often adopt an authoritative style. They believe in a top-down hierarchy where decisions flow from the top management to the lower levels. They expect strict adherence to rules and policies.

  2. Centralize, Command and Control: These leaders emphasize control over their teams. They closely monitor performance, set clear expectations, and may not encourage much autonomy. Decisions are centralized, and employees follow instructions without much input.

  3. Risk-Aversion: Traditional leaders are cautious about change. They prefer stability and resist disruptive innovations. They may be hesitant to adopt new technologies or processes unless they have a proven track record.

  4. Respect for Hierarchy: Hierarchical structures matter to traditional leaders. They value titles, seniority, and formal positions. Respect for authority and following the chain of command are essential. But some of them being control centric will NOT create formal structures. Will manage with an ambiguous organization structure and ask all staff to report to them directly.

  5. Conservative Communication Style: Traditional leaders communicate formally and professionally. They prefer face-to-face interactions or official memos over informal chats. They may not readily embrace open-door policies.

  6. Emphasis on Experience: These leaders value experience, longevity and tenure. They believe that wisdom comes with time, and senior employees should guide junior ones. They may be skeptical of fresh ideas from newcomers.

  7. Stability and Predictability: Traditional leaders strive for stability. They maintain routines, avoid sudden changes, and prefer incremental improvements. Predictability is essential for them.

  8. Loyalty to the Organization: Traditional leaders prioritize loyalty to the company. They expect employees to stay committed for the long term. Job security and tenure matter more than job hopping. They prefer loyalty to top performance.

  9. Formal Dress Code: Dressing professionally and adhering to a formal dress code is common among traditional leaders. They believe that appearance reflects professionalism. They do not like casual or informal clothing. They like all staff to wear similar kind of clothing.

  10. Conservative Decision-Making: These leaders take a deliberate approach to decision-making. They analyze data thoroughly, consult with others, and avoid impulsive choices. Quick decisions may be viewed skeptically.

  11. Focus on Results: While they value process and tradition, traditional leaders ultimately prioritize results. They want to achieve organizational goals efficiently, even if it means sticking to conventional methods.

  12. Limited Adaptability: Traditional leaders may struggle with adapting to rapid changes in the business landscape. They prefer stability over agility. They are technology averse and prefer to use traditional systems and processes to manage. For example, they would prefer Microsoft Office to an ERP or a Cloud enabled SaaS platform.


What makes Traditional Managers, Traditional?


Traditional managers are characterized by their adherence to conventional, hierarchical, and often inflexible management approaches. Several factors contribute to making them traditional:


Authoritarian Leadership Style:

  • Traditional managers typically adopt an authoritative or autocratic leadership style, where decisions are made unilaterally and directives are issued from the top down.

  • They may exercise control and authority over their subordinates without seeking input or collaboration, relying on a command-and-control approach to management.


Resistance to Change:

  • Traditional managers often exhibit resistance to change and may be hesitant to embrace new ideas, technologies, or ways of working.

  • They may prefer to maintain the status quo and resist efforts to innovate or disrupt established practices, viewing change as a threat to stability and predictability.


Hierarchical Structure:

  • Traditional managers tend to favor hierarchical organizational structures with clear lines of authority and a rigid chain of command.

  • They may value formal titles and positions, and decision-making power is typically concentrated at the top of the hierarchy.


Micromanagement:

  • Traditional managers may engage in micromanagement, closely supervising and controlling the activities of their subordinates.

  • They may exhibit a lack of trust in their employees' abilities and feel the need to closely monitor and oversee their work, leading to a stifling work environment.


Emphasis on Formality:

  • Traditional managers often place a high value on formality and adherence to rules, procedures, and protocols.

  • They may prioritize adherence to established norms and conventions, expecting employees to follow formalized processes and protocols in their work.


Focus on Short-Term Results:

  • Traditional managers may prioritize short-term results and immediate outcomes over long-term strategic goals.

  • They may focus on meeting quarterly targets or achieving quick wins without considering the broader implications or long-term consequences of their actions.


Reluctance to Delegate:

  • Traditional managers may be reluctant to delegate tasks or responsibilities to their subordinates, preferring to maintain control over key decision-making processes.

  • They may perceive delegation as a loss of control or a sign of weakness, leading to a reluctance to empower employees to take on additional responsibilities.


Limited Flexibility:

  • Traditional managers may exhibit limited flexibility in their management approach, adhering strictly to established routines, practices, and ways of working.

  • They may be resistant to adapting their management style to accommodate changing circumstances or evolving employee needs, leading to a lack of agility and responsiveness.


Traditional managers tend to favor stability, control, and adherence to established norms and practices. They may be less inclined to embrace change, innovation, or new ways of working, and may prioritize maintaining the status quo over adapting to evolving circumstances. Recognizing these characteristics can help identify traditional managers and inform efforts to promote leadership development and organizational change.


What typical behaviors are displayed by Traditional Managers?


Traditional managers often exhibit a set of behaviors that reflect their adherence to conventional, hierarchical, and sometimes rigid management approaches. Here are some typical behaviors displayed by traditional managers:


Directive Communication:

  • Traditional managers tend to communicate in a directive manner, issuing instructions and directives to their subordinates without much room for discussion or input.

  • They may use language that conveys authority and control, expecting their instructions to be followed without question.


Micromanagement:

  • Traditional managers may engage in micromanagement, closely monitoring and overseeing the work of their subordinates.

  • They may feel the need to be involved in every aspect of their employees' work, leading to a lack of trust and autonomy among team members.


Reluctance to Delegate:

  • Traditional managers may be reluctant to delegate tasks or responsibilities to their subordinates, preferring to maintain control over key decision-making processes.

  • They may perceive delegation as a loss of control or a sign of weakness, leading to a reluctance to empower employees to take on additional responsibilities.


Resistance to Change:

  • Traditional managers may exhibit resistance to change and be hesitant to embrace new ideas, technologies, or ways of working.

  • They may prefer to maintain the status quo and resist efforts to innovate or disrupt established practices, viewing change as a threat to stability and predictability.


Hierarchical Decision-Making:

  • Traditional managers tend to make decisions in a hierarchical manner, with decision-making power concentrated at the top of the organizational hierarchy.

  • They may make decisions unilaterally without seeking input or collaboration from their subordinates, relying on a top-down approach to management.


Emphasis on Formality:

  • Traditional managers often place a high value on formality and adherence to rules, procedures, and protocols.

  • They may prioritize adherence to established norms and conventions, expecting employees to follow formalized processes and protocols in their work.


Focus on Short-Term Results:

  • Traditional managers may prioritize short-term results and immediate outcomes over long-term strategic goals.

  • They may focus on meeting quarterly targets or achieving quick wins without considering the broader implications or long-term consequences of their actions.


Limited Flexibility:

  • Traditional managers may exhibit limited flexibility in their management approach, adhering strictly to established routines, practices, and ways of working.

  • They may be resistant to adapting their management style to accommodate changing circumstances or evolving employee needs, leading to a lack of agility and responsiveness.


Overall, these behaviors reflect a preference for stability, control, and adherence to established norms and practices among traditional managers. Recognizing these behaviors can help identify traditional managers and inform efforts to promote leadership development and organizational change.


Feedback Process To Help Improve Traditional Managers


1. Focus on Behaviors, Not Personality:

  • Avoid criticizing the traditional manager's personality. Instead, focus on specific behaviors and how they impact the team and organization.

  • Use "I" statements to express observations and their consequences. For example, "I notice that when decisions are made top-down, team members feel less engaged."

2. Highlight Positive Aspects (First):

  • Begin by acknowledging the traditional manager's strengths and past successes. This creates a more receptive environment for feedback.

  • Mention how their leadership has been valuable and highlight areas where their style has worked well.

3. Identify Specific Dysfunctional Behaviors:

  • Clearly explain the specific traditional leadership behaviors that might be hindering performance

  • Examples of traditional leadership behaviors that can be dysfunctional:

  • Micromanagement: Constantly monitoring and controlling every aspect of a team member's work.

  • Lack of Delegation: Not empowering team members to take ownership and make decisions.

  • Poor Communication: One-way communication where information flows top-down, with little opportunity for feedback from team members.

  • Focus on Hierarchy: Overemphasis on titles and positions, hindering collaboration and knowledge sharing.

  • Limited Innovation: Discouraging new ideas or approaches to problem-solving.

4. Quantify the Impact (When Possible):

  • Provide data or concrete examples to illustrate the negative impact of certain behaviors.

  • This could include decreased employee morale, high turnover rates, or missed opportunities due to a lack of innovation.

5. Offer Solutions and Alternatives:

  • Don't just point out problems; suggest alternative leadership approaches.

  • Provide resources or training opportunities that could help the manager develop new skills and adopt a more collaborative style.

  • Recommend books, articles, or leadership development programs focused on modern leadership styles.

  • Suggest implementing new communication channels to encourage feedback and open communication within the team.

  • Propose pilot programs for delegation and decision-making at the team level.

6. Frame it as an Opportunity for Growth:

  • Position the feedback as an opportunity for the manager to improve their leadership skills and become even more effective.

  • Focus on the potential benefits to the manager, their team, and the organization as a whole.

  • Highlight how a more modern leadership style can lead to increased employee engagement, improved productivity, and a more innovative work environment.

7. Maintain a Respectful and Collaborative Tone:

  • Throughout the conversation, maintain a respectful and professional demeanor.

  • Focus on open communication and collaboration to find solutions that benefit everyone.

  • Be prepared for the manager to be defensive initially. Listen actively and address their concerns in a constructive manner.

8. Follow Up and Offer Support:

  • Don't leave the traditional manager alone after providing feedback.

  • Offer to be a sounding board or provide further support as they work on implementing changes.

  • Regularly check in to see how they are progressing and offer encouragement.

  • Changing leadership styles takes time and effort. Be patient, supportive, and focus on fostering a growth mindset.


Behavioral Feedback for Traditional Managers


Establish Rapport and Context:

  • Begin by establishing rapport and creating a comfortable environment for the feedback conversation.

  • Express appreciation for the manager's contributions and commitment to the organization.


Describe Observable Behaviors:

  • Provide specific examples of behaviors or actions that reflect the manager's traditional leadership style.

  • Use concrete, objective language to describe observable behaviors without assigning blame or judgment.


Explain Impact on Team and Organization:

  • Discuss the potential impact of the manager's traditional leadership style on team dynamics, employee morale, and organizational performance.

  • Highlight any negative consequences or challenges that may arise as a result of the manager's approach.


Highlight Opportunities for Improvement:

  • Offer constructive feedback on areas where the manager could benefit from adjusting their leadership style.

  • Emphasize the importance of flexibility, adaptability, and openness to change in today's dynamic business environment.


Provide Alternative Approaches:

  • Suggest alternative approaches or strategies that the manager could consider to enhance their effectiveness as a leader.

  • Offer examples of more inclusive, collaborative, and empowering leadership practices that could yield positive results.


Invite Dialogue and Collaboration:

  • Encourage open dialogue and collaboration by inviting the manager to share their perspective and insights.

  • Create space for the manager to ask questions, seek clarification, and express any concerns or challenges they may be facing.


Offer Support and Resources:

  • Offer support and resources to help the manager develop and refine their leadership skills.

  • Recommend training programs, coaching, or mentorship opportunities that could help the manager expand their leadership toolkit.


Set Clear Expectations:

  • Clearly communicate expectations for change and improvement, emphasizing the importance of ongoing growth and development as a leader.

  • Establish measurable goals or milestones for the manager to work towards in implementing feedback and adjusting their leadership style.


Follow-Up and Accountability:

  • Schedule follow-up meetings or check-ins to monitor progress and provide ongoing support and guidance.

  • Hold the manager accountable for implementing feedback and making meaningful improvements to their leadership approach.


Express Confidence and Support:

  • Conclude the feedback conversation on a positive note by expressing confidence in the traditional managers bility to adapt and grow as a leader.

  • Reiterate your support and commitment to helping the manager succeed in their role and contribute to the organization's success.

By following this structured approach, feedback can be delivered in a constructive and supportive manner, helping traditional managers gain awareness of their leadership style and its potential impact on the organization while providing guidance and support for growth and development.

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