We’ve heard the phrase “command and control” many times in our careers and it’s not necessarily fitting to a 2022 workforce. Leaders tend to steer away from commanding people and employees certainly don’t want to be controlled. If we don’t want to command and control in a 21st Century workplace, what’s the alternative? A recent Forbes article has offered the equal and opposite term of “trust and inspire” as the preferred route to success within an organisation. So why is ‘trust and inspire’ a better option than ‘command and control’?
When we set out to achieve something, it is always easier to work towards a target than to try and move away from your current state. For example, ‘your role, as a leader, is to trust and inspire your team’ has much more focus and direction than ‘stop commanding and controlling your team’. You have a positive goal to work towards instead of being left to try and work out alternative methods of leadership. Of course, the next question will be about how this can be achieved but at least there is something concrete to work towards.
The world we live and operate in today is ever-changing and so are the workforces that leaders manage. This has led to a change in the expectation of leaders across the world from their employees. The chance to build more diverse and inclusive work environments that are no longer just suited to the majority has now arisen. When leaders can be trusted to do the right thing by people of all backgrounds, their team will be inspired and encouraged to not only perform well, but to do the same in their lives.
The Habit of Being Open
During the past two years, we’ve all faced the pandemic and work colleagues will likely have had very similar experiences of the multiple lockdowns and restrictions to one another. In a way, the pandemic can be seen as a great leveller that has taught us how to be open and vulnerable with one another again. Most leaders and followers all went through the same thing. Many people may have spoken to colleagues more virtually than they ever did in the office. When you finally see Sarah’s cat, who she often spoke about in the office, pass along the screen in a Zoom call, this helps create a more intimate relationship and breaks down that workplace façade many of us put on. When we are open with each other and have those more intimate relationships, it becomes easier to build trust and understand what inspires and motivates our colleagues.
The list is endless when it comes to ‘trust and inspire’ being a better way to lead than ‘command and control. It will differ from leader to leader, organisation to organisation and employee to employee. It is the leader’s job, however, to work out how to best implement this culture to get the most out of their team but trust always wins.