If there’s anything most human resources and management experts can agree on, it’s that the old school, traditional style of management is as passé as the fax machine. In so many ways, the “don’t ask, just do” sort of attitude that “classic” management upheld just no longer works in the modern workplace.
In the past, vertical hierarchies—like you’d see in the military—may have made such a management mentality possible. But today there are countless reasons to look for an upgrade.
Businesses, their subsidiaries, their parent companies, their partnerships, and their contractors have changed and have grown increasingly complex. What was once a small mesh is now a large network of people and corporations that interact to form a single unit. Today’s workforces have consultants with the authority of managers, but with no direct reports. They have junior people teaching new technology to industry heavyweights. They even have CEOs who gather feedback and maintain direct relationships with front-line workers. The standard career track has changed, and the role of management needs to change with it.
Organizations that refuse to improve their managerial strategies can suffer significant setbacks. Some common problems of classic management are already well-known: a lack of creativity and innovation, low morale, increased risk of lawsuits, etc. Such an environment creates employees who won’t go the extra mile for the company, and so it’s the company’s performance that suffers in turn.
Decades of research in organizational behavior and management techniques, combined with the emergence of ubiquitous connectivity, has brought about a better solution: real-time coaching. Real-time coaching changes the role of the manager from an authority figure to an employee champion. Real-time coaches don’t discipline or instruct teams; they support them and work with them to pursue the best outcomes together.
Here are five ways that real-time coaching is a better solution than traditional management:
1. Real-time knowledge means real-time improvements.
A ballerina’s tutor will correct his or her posture and steps immediately. This is because real-time feedback helps prevent problems from snowballing and growing more serious further down the line.
Usually, employees appreciate hearing exactly what’s working and what isn’t, before they invest more wasted time mastering a skill or plugging away at a project. This reduces the amount of changes and corrections that need to be introduced later. Real-time coaching increases your rapport with your team, and helps to make sure that work is going well, before it’s too late.
2. Employee growth and development happens faster.
With real-time coaching, the manager isn’t expected to hover over the employee’s shoulder at all times, correcting mistakes. That’s not how it works. Instead, supervisors empower employees to make mistakes and come up with the right solutions themselves. This is the single most effective way for people to learn. Managers are present to provide guidance and assistance, just like real coaches.
Empowering employees taps into a fresh source of creativity and insight. People who feel like they can speak up and present their ideas are more productive collaborators, constantly working to increase the collective knowledge and skills of the group—something that some traditional managers might find unnerving.
3. Relationships add value.
When manager-coaches encourage employee input, interactions up and down the organization chart become less confrontational. Whereas employees in traditional management environments live in constant fear of “getting fired” or in pursuit of the next “big promotion,” empowered employees see their managers as a source of growth.
Of course, not everyone thrives in this setting. Employees with little to contribute, and those who are afraid to fail, will find that they have nowhere to hide in a collaborative work environment.
4. You get better results.
Two heads are better than one. How much better is up for debate. But when both heads are competing against each other, or playing a power game with one another, the math becomes much more simple: One minus one equals zero.
In modern organizations, success doesn’t come from the top. It comes from front-line workers who understand their roles, are committed to working hard, and who constantly challenge each other to be better. In a real-time coaching situation, employees are more motivated to succeed, because they feel valued and supported by everyone they interact with.
5. Employees are invested in company success.
A culture of support and motivation breeds a culture of success. The results are evident everywhere you look: higher engagement, a better brand, lower turnover, increased satisfaction. With real-time coaching, employees aren’t just given opportunities to thrive—they take them.