Do you want to live in a world where leaders call people “losers,” “stupid” or other derogatory names?
That’s the question Marty Stanley posed to a group interested in transforming from “type A” to what she describes as “type T” leadership — that’s “T” for transformational, not Trump. The early presidential race is showcasing what Stanley, a leadership and organizational change consultant, believes is the worst kind of leadership to be effective.
This isn’t about politics. It’s about the way leaders relate to others. Like it or not, technology and generational shifts have changed family and work environments. Most workers today — especially those in their 30s and younger — are simply unwillingly to tolerate egocentric bosses who are in it for their own glory rather than the good of the whole.
“With the 2016 election, we’re seeing extremes in leadership and communication that, frankly, I find disturbing,” Stanley said, particularly criticizing the “detrimental impact of Trump-style leadership. … Not only does it have to stop — people need to know there are healthy, collaborative and productive, profitable alternatives.”
These days, she said, effective leadership calls for more humility and more focus on the team instead of the self.
Granted, it’s hard to become more collegial and inclusive, whether you’re talking about individual or organizational change. It often requires a kickstart because of a crisis or loss, something that makes a person, a group or a business take honest stock of the way things are.
Stanley recently wrote “From Type A to Type T: How to be a Transformational Leader in a Bottom-Line World,” in which she makes it clear that individuals have to start with self accountability and the desire to set concrete goals to change. No one can force true change on the unwilling.
Changing the overall leadership style in organizations also needs buy-in. Some change can grow up from the grass roots, but in her consulting experience, Stanley said, it usually takes six to 18 months of dedicated attention — especially from top-down management — to truly change leadership style.
For individuals and organizations she’s found that people have trouble answering this question: “How do you contribute to the situation you’re in?” It doesn’t help to blame others without acknowledging your role. And it doesn’t help if your self perception is off the mark compared with how others see you.
“Give up blame and excuses. Give up the need to always be right,” she said. “Get beyond yourself and look at the best interests of the organization. Stop the drama and the gossip. Create a shared vision. People who like the old way will probably leave or be asked to leave. Recognize the ‘pot stirrers’ who make things worse.”
She said wise, successful leaders of the future will equip colleagues with the knowledge, skills, tools and resources needed to pursue and attain shared visions.