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March 21, 2018 // 1 Comments

6 Traditional Leadership Techniques That Didn’t Make the Cut

6 Traditional Leadership Techniques That Didn’t Make the Cut

At The Center For Agile Leadership® we are always striving to build the best culture that we can for our team. A happy team, leads to happy customers, leads to a great place to work. As students of leadership, we are constantly testing various techniques and tools. Sometimes the techniques work well and we adopt them and sometimes they don’t and we leave them by the way-side.

Here are six techniques that did not make the cut in our company:

  1. Annual Performance Reviews
    Traditional management conducts annual performance reviews for each employee. There are really only two outcomes from this method of evaluating employees – you give them a good review at which point they expect a raise because its been a year since you last rewarded them, or you give them a poor review at which point it is probably too late for them to correct the issues.
  2. Performance Improvement Plans
    If you read the companion article that we published with our top 10 leadership techniques that do work, then you know that we hold trust as the number-one-fundamental-key to good leadership. In our experiences performance improvement plans (PIPs) destroy trust faster than any other technique in leadership. If you really wanted to improve a team member’s performance, you would sit down with them and talk to them like a friend or a coach. A leader who relies on PIPs are really just looking for an out on getting rid of an underperforming team member. Instead of a PIP, it should be called This Is The First Step Toward Firing You Plan.
  3. Job Descriptions
    Traditional management wants to have a very specific job description for each employee. That way the employees knows exactly what they are responsible for. Right? We see job descriptions as one of the most limiting things you can do to a team member. By having a specific job description, you are literally limiting your expectations for that team member. You are setting them up to refuse work that is outside the description and possibly hiding their greatest talents.
  4. Vacation/Sick Leave Policy
    Our policy states, “Do the right thing”. Adults don’t need to be told that they can only have 2 weeks of vacation a year, they know what work needs to be done and are capable of scheduling their time to figure it out. Instead of telling your employees they get 10 days off per year, give them the goals and tell them to manage their time accordingly. You get more done, you utilize people’s preferred time and method of working, and you increase team member happiness.
  5. Employee Handbook
    We simply don’t have one, we guide people back to our values instead for making their own judgements. When you make your values actionable they come alive and become the foundation for your organization’s culture.
  6. Daily Scrum
    This one hurts a little. We tried the daily Scrum for many weeks (Probably more than we should have) because we believe in the power of Scrum. But for us, the reality is that most of our team’s work is not related to each other and most team members weren’t getting a lot out of it. Rather than say, were Agile dammit, we are going to do daily Scrums; we abandoned them. Instead we do a weekly Scrum meeting with different questions; What did you accomplish this week? Goals for next week? Any highs? Any lows? This has proved just enough to help us know what each other is up to and for everyone to still feel connected.

One Response

  1. Kyle says:

    “We see job descriptions as one of the most limiting things you can do to a team member. By having a specific job description, you are literally limiting your expectations for that team member. You are setting them up to refuse work that is outside the description and possibly hiding their greatest talents.” I would agree on this one. This technique will only make employees refuse a task if that task is not in the job description. Is there a way on how to handles this one? Letting them know what are their responsibilties while avoiding this issue.

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