From authoritarian to progress-focused leadership

This week, someone wrote the following: "‘You should just do what I say even if you disagree with it’ is really no longer acceptable." I agree with her. Managers who speak like this exhibit an authoritarian attitude that says, "You must do what I say, and I don't care about your opinion." Such an approach to management undermines the relationship between the manager and employee and the quality of the employee’s motivation.” Let’s move from authoritarian to progress-focused leadership.

Progress-Focused Directing

Of course, it is part of a manager's role to provide structure and direction. Progress-focused directing means: 1) clearly stating WHAT you expect, 2) explaining WHY it is necessary, and 3) giving the person autonomy in HOW they will meet the expectation.

Dealing with "Yes, but" with Genuine Respect

With progress-focused  directing, you reduce the chance of resistance because you clearly explain the WHY of your direction and leave the HOW to the employee. However, the likelihood of resistance or contradiction is never zero. There will always be a chance for a yes-but response. As a progress-focused  manager, you respond to this respectfully.
You do this by listening to what the person says and acknowledging their perspective. In this article, I describe four legitimate but solvable reasons why an employee might have a yes-but response: 1) I don’t want to, 2) your guidance conflicts with my own goal, 3) there is a practical obstacle, 4) I can’t do it.
The article outlines how you as a manager can respond. In many cases, this will help to overcome the person's resistance.

Sometimes Resistance to Direction is Justified

There are situations where an employee's resistance to direction is justified, and what you expected is not reasonable. Here are some examples:
  • Impossibility: Sometimes something is asked that is actually impossible, such as completing a task without the necessary resources.
  • Time Constraint: What you are asking for is unrealistic within the given time frame: This means that the time allocated for a task is not realistic given its size or complexity.
  • Ethical Concerns: You may be asked to do something that conflicts with ethical standards or organizational values.
  • Wrong Person: What you're asking, you're asking the wrong person. This happens when a task is assigned to someone who does not have the appropriate knowledge or authority.
  • Special Circumstances: Due to the employee's personal circumstances that you learn about during the conversation (for example, illness), they are currently unable to meet expectations.

Modern Leadership

Modern leadership is the ability to find good solutions together with others in a complex and changing environment. This means that modern leaders are open to different perspectives, willing to collaborate, aware of their own limitations, and focused on the common good. It’s not about knowing better, telling others what to do, and not caring about their opinions.

► "‘You should just do what I say even if you disagree with it’ is really no longer acceptable."