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Topic: Leadership

Traditional Leadership is Dying

Here’s what HR can do to help

Group of 5 talking with their leader during a meeting.
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Update: Leadership is more important than ever in times of crisis. This year has brought multiple challenges to workplaces and gives leaders an opportunity to improve their leadership practices and help all employees thrive. Just as the workforce is quickly adapting to new work experiences and a new normal, leaders too must evolve their leadership styles to meet the needs of employees in an ever-changing situation.

For example, the recommendation below for modern leaders to hold one-to-one conversations with their people rather than annual reviews is even more crucial right now. Weekly one-to-ones during uncertain times like the COVID-19 pandemic lead to a:

54% increase in engagement

31% increase in productivity

47% decrease in fearfulness

15% decrease in burnout

16% decrease in depression

*Source: O.C. Tanner weekly pulse surveys

Leaders should continue to see their primary role as influencing and inspiring great work rather than micro-managing and trying to do it all themselves. Too many leaders are still stuck in a traditional leadership mindset and fall back into old habits of trying to control work and directing employees instead of coaching, mentoring, and developing their people. This robs employees of the opportunity to take ownership and lead on their own to help the company weather this storm.

As you read this whitepaper, join us and others on this journey to become the type of leader employees need in difficult times. Acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers and trust your people to help you navigate through the uncertainty.


What kind of leaders do you have in your organization?

For the past 100 years, leadership has not changed much. Most companies still offer a high percentage of decision-making power to a select few. Leaders still call the shots of what their teams work on, how they work, and when and where they work. Many leaders tend to micromanage instead of inspire their people. They act as gatekeepers, rather than advocates, for career development.

Leaders are critical to building top-notch employee experiences and thriving workplace cultures. Research shows leaders influence the most important aspects of the workplace for employees: purpose, opportunity, wellbeing, appreciation, and success. And yet as the modern workplace has developed and evolved, traditional leadership styles have not. What worked for factories in the 1900’s no longer applies to today’s mobile, deskless, and autonomous workforce. Traditional leadership has become outdated, with Millennials and Gen-Zers rejecting traditional leadership practices. Traditional leadership, as we’ve known it, is dying.

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