Industrial Age Leadership Methods Stifle Innovation

I recently listened to a speaker talk about the challenges manufacturers are having filling jobs vacated by retiring Veterans and Boomers.  They cannot hire young people, and when they are hired, they leave after a short period of time.  The situation has become mission critical to the organizations and to community sustainability.

I asked, “Why do you think that is?”  She responded, “Leadership quality.  Young people will not work in an environment where they are not given a voice.”  I knew before I asked what the answer was, but I wanted the audience to hear from her.

The dominant style of leadership today, in most organizations and communities, is based on Industrial Age leadership methods, which uses “control, power, micro-managing, and fear-based tactics” to get people to perform.  Some would call it, “My way or the highway.” Industrial age leadership was designed for managers to lead machines and people to meet production goals.  People were told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.  They had and still have no voices.  They are automatons.

I heard someone recently say, “In most organizations, people are nothing more than serfs.”   A “serf” is a “slave.” A slave has no voice.  He or she is bound by the rules of the master (the employer/manager) and has no say in the rules of engagement, accountabilities, processes, or work environment.  An employee serf shows up, symbolically punches a clock, and exits as soon as his or her “shift” is over.  There’s no loyalty.  It’s just a job.  A means to acquire the finances necessary to take care of oneself and one’s family!

People in such an environment are far from being inspired.  They are oppressed.  The only difference in a “serf” and an “employee” in such an environment is that the “employee” can quit, leaving you with a job that needs to be filled, and then a new employee to train.

Young people, the Gen Xers and Gen Ys, have had access to the world via technology from a very young age, and as a result, have been able to express themselves freely nearly since birth.  They value and thrive on free-expression, collaboration, creativity, innovation, individualism, and engagement. They want to be involved in decision making and be considered part of the team.  They want to learn and grow. They want to work in a team-oriented environment where everyone feels safe speaking their minds, collaborating, and helping each other succeed.   Far from an Industrial Age leadership culture!

Industrial-age leadership stifles collaboration and creativity.  It literally imprisons people’s ideas and thoughts, and is destructive to the human spirit.  Young people are hired, and they immediately exit because they refuse to work in such an environment.

Do not imprison innovation and creativity in old-world leadership of control and power and who gets the credit. Give people a voice so they can generate new ideas and solve problems.  Help people to learn and grow.  Maximize people’s potential.

Start by focusing on leadership quality and developing a culture that sustains it.  The culture needs to be one in which people are respected as individuals, with accountabilities to hold “all people” accountable for tolerance and respect for people’s uniqueness.

© All rights reserved. Patricia Hatley


About Patricia Hatley

Patricia Hatley is a leadership author, researcher, speaker, trainer, consultant. We provide resources to empower people to empower others. “Inspired leadership elevates everything!” With a graduate degree in strategic leadership, primarily transformational leadership, Patricia Hatley is a leadership researcher with a concentration on 21st century intergenerational leadership, author, consultant, and teacher. Patricia is an intergenerational pro with over 30 years experience leading teams in corporate and non-profit environments. In December 2012, she retired from a 42 year career in the corporate environment to concentrate on this project. Her books include: (1) “4 Generations @ Work: Leading from Conflict to Collaboration,” (2011) based on research conducted within a Fortune 500 company and across all industries, is a study of generational preferences and values and how to effectively integrate all into any organization. (2) “Three Things All People Want,” (2014) which reveals how to inspire people to engagement by tapping into three basic human needs; and (3) “Digital Grenades: Explosive and Corrosive,” (2015) which deals with inspiring people to engagement and high performance when most interaction is across a digital platform via some kind of digital communications, i.e. email, social media, texting, etc . (4) “4 Generations @ Work: A Case for Empowerment,” (2015) a revised and expanded version of her first book 4 Generations @ Work. Patricia’s fourth book is a self-help book for anyone to use to develop a highly engaging workplace, for anyone. It provides information, based on recent and life-long experience:  How to develop an empowered culture, and why such a culture is critical to success today and even more so over the next decade;  “The Trust Factor” importance and basics;  “The Power of Ask,” what it is, how it works, and how crucial it is to success;  “Listening to Understand” basics;  “Integrity today” what it looks like and why it is different and crucial to success;  “Diversity and Inclusion,” what it looks like today, why, importance, and how tos;  Five generations: Intergenerational values and preferences, creating understanding, reducing conflict, engagement, etc.;  The Plurals--She introduces the next generation to flood the work force, the Plurals. Plurals are different than any generation yet, but require many of the same things in the workplace that their colleagues, the Gen Ys, do.
This entry was posted in 4 Generations in workplace, Abusive work place, Aging Work Force, Collaboration, Digital Age Leadership, Digital Communications, Leadership, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s