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Are You Still Leading Like It Is 1999?

jlbworks | June 9, 2017

Outdated Leadership Styles and Their Impact on “Successful” Leaders

For those of us who remember the days of Purple Rain and Y2K, we likely can recall managers whose leadership style depended heavily on positional power as a means to obtain compliance from their followers. For some, you may have been the leader that led with this conscious or unconscious foundation of support.


Because it worked!

Fast-forward to today and many of those same leaders are left scratching their heads wondering why aren’t “they getting it.” Yet, in reality, it is the leaders approach that is no longer working. Yes, the very same leadership style that worked so well a few years back.

As an executive coach, I have worked with numerous executives that have stellar resumes and career achievements that would make any mother proud. It is then, with a touch of irony, that I see the uncertainty and frustration in their faces when they receive feedback that is far from “exceeding expectations.” After the shock, resistance and rationalization subside, we are then able to roll up our sleeves and dive into what is really happening. The system and environment has a new set of rules and expectations.

The systemic variables have shifted and will continue to shift dramatically going forward. Many organizations are attempting to keep up by implementing the next shiny initiative in hopes of “transforming its culture” and “increasing employee engagement.” Of course, the complexity of what leaders and organizations are facing yields more ambiguity than answers.

Here’s the thing:

“Leaders past successes can yield a false sense of confidence in their assessment of the right approach needed for today’s challenges.”

Today’s successful leaders must step back and assess their current approach in any given moment and pivot accordingly. This is especially important during times of major organizational changes such as a merger, acquisition or turnover in top leadership. In other words, leaders need to develop their leadership agility through ongoing learning, coaching and feedback mechanisms.

A few questions leaders should ask themselves on a regular interval:

  • What has changed in my environment, market and organization?
  • What does excellent leadership look like today based on these changes?

Connect with Christie if you would like to learn more about how best to support your leaders in strengthening their leadership agility through coaching.

Christie Berger, executive coach Nashville, partners with organizations to support the learning initiatives of its executives and high-potential leaders through customized individual leadership coaching and team coaching engagements.