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15 Outdated Practices Managers Shouldn't Follow In The Modern Workplace

Managerial advice and “how-to” articles on leadership are everywhere. From online forum participants to your former bosses, everyone has an opinion on how to be better leaders. However, even well-intentioned advice has an expiration date.

We asked the members of Forbes Coaches Council for their take on common managerial practices, particularly focusing on what they consider to be outdated for today’s managers. See their responses below to understand which older practices to keep out of today’s work environment.

1. Measuring Physical Presence And In-Office Time

Today's expected workplace is "virtual." Employees can work from anywhere. All too often, however, leaders have a mindset that if they don't see you in the office, then you aren't working. This makes leveraging a virtual workplace very difficult, and employees today expect this as part of the benefits of working with a company. Leaders should focus on actual results and not physical presence. - John Knotts, Crosscutter Enterprises

2. Giving The Annual Performance Review

Ditch the yearly performance review. It's outdated and ineffective. Business moves quickly, so your feedback should too. Find ways to give employees feedback as often as possible. Retire the concept of a manager and adopt that of a coach. Ongoing feedback allows team members to immediately make improvements to their performance and increases employee engagement as an added bonus! - Jennifer Peatman, Jennifer Peatman Coaching and Consulting

3. Strictly Separating Your Business And Personal Lives

Vulnerable leadership and personal branding require you to show up as a human at work. Your employees want to know that you're human too—that you have a life, family, friends and story that's meaningful to you that intertwines with the work you do. You need to show up to work with leadership presence and personality if you want to establish credibility and trust with your employees. - Alex Rufatto Perry, Practically Speaking, LLC

4. Motivating Staff Through Money Alone

Money is not an effective motivator for most people, though they will pretend that it is. Incentivization with money is what managers do when they don't spend the quality time to get to know their people. People have their own motives already. You just have to know how to find them and connect them to business activities. When you connect to self-interest this way, you create engagement. - Josef Shapiro, Clear and Open

5. Only Assessing Competency

Competency modeling and assessment was the hot feedback and evaluation method of the previous generation. As an expert in assessment, I noticed myself evolving this idea over a decade ago because competent people can often get tunnel vision. When they know a lot, they also become less open to wholesale changes and innovation. In today's fluid workplace, agility has become more important. - Pam Boney,

6. Treating Every Employee The Same

Old-fashioned managers went for absolute consistency in the treatment of employees, afraid that conscious deviation from policy or rules would set a new precedent forever. The agility and diversity of a modern workspace demand occasional flexibility. Today's leaders need to make the right decision at the right time for the right people, and never assume that by doing so they have reset a policy. - Tom Kolditz, Doerr Institute for New Leaders

7. Giving Formal Written Performance Feedback

The new generation embraces and prefers more immediate communications. Use social media to celebrate wins, text your team members, engage in person and via mobile tools. Stay in touch, engaged and provide real-time feedback. This is the new "open-door" policy. The tech-savvy workforce uses mobile tools as frequently as we use to dial-in to speak to someone. Take advantage of that immediacy. - Rosa Vargas, Authentic Resume Branding & Career Coaching

8. Focusing On Fixing Weaknesses

Focusing on the weaknesses of employees could be one of the most outdated pieces of advice. It triggers employees to feel consistently insufficient, which is one of the most difficult emotions to deal with. Concentrating on developing weaknesses takes a lot of energy and time while making it hard to achieve good results. Contrary, strengths are resources that can easily be activated and are motivational by nature. - Elif Suner, Elif Suner MBA, M.Ed, PCC - Coaching, Training, Consulting

9. Requiring Optimism

Traditionally, managers were told that pessimists would harm the flow of work and hurt staff morale. Some managers tried to require a positive attitude at work. New research shows that employees wandering around the workplace sounding like Eeyore actually serve a positive purpose. As long as they are located in the right job, pessimists save companies money by troubleshooting to prevent problems. - Doris Helge, Women's Leadership Success Strategies

10. Using Command-And-Control Leadership

Command-and-control leadership was highly effective in the industrial age when the focus was on individuals being accountable for producing material goods. In today's information economy, the focus is on producing and sharing knowledge. This requires shared leadership and collaboration. High-functioning teams have multiple leaders in clearly defined roles who share a common purpose. - Emily Rogers, Emily Rogers Consulting + Coaching

11. Keeping Quiet About Your Mistakes And Worries

"Keep a stiff upper lip" and the similar maxim of "never let them see you sweat" are outdated and inauthentic to boot. To promote true teamwork, a leader should demonstrate to the broader team that it is actually OK to make mistakes versus withholding information because we learn, grow and thrive collectively when we are honest and accountable to each other, regardless of our job titles. - Debbie Ince, Executive Talent Finders, Inc

12. Seeking Full Consensus From The Team

Consensus and agreement, which used to be the hallmarks of excellent management, aren't as effective as we once thought. Getting everyone "on the same page" can stifle voices of dissension. And the knock-on effect is that new ideas and different viewpoints aren't explored, inclusion suffers and innovation probably won't happen. Encourage spirited discussion, and watch your team's creativity soar! - Kate Dixon, Dixon Consulting

13. Concentrating Solely On The Bottom Line

Concentrating only on the bottom line is passé. Managers who focus only on one stakeholder (investors) risk failing that very one. There is research galore to prove that when companies work to serve all stakeholders, rather than exploit some to serve one, financials improve. Managers need to align all stakeholders, including investors, so they position their companies better for the future. - Kelly Tyler Byrnes, Voyage Consulting Group

14. Prioritizing Tenure Over Talent

Traditional management called for us to consider time on the job as a significant factor when considering a promotion. Today, we know some very young, new-to-the-firm talent can outshine long-tenured team members. It is critical that managers employ a "leapfrog" strategy where the person with the best performance and potential is promoted ahead of those who may have been here longer. - Jennifer Wilson, ConvergenceCoaching, LLC

15. Encouraging Vertical Silos

One piece of managerial advice I would consider outdated is vertical leadership. As the modern workplace changes, so does leadership. Managers should step out of their vertical silos and into horizontal connection, building trust that is bi-lateral. This is the basic law of social psychology: the reciprocity principle. Managers need to develop employees across the board, not just high potentials. - Elizabeth Ruiz, EAR Enterprises

Source: This article was initially published on October 17, 2019, on Forbes here


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