In the last blog, Theory X vs. Theory Y, we saw how assumptions about one’s employees affects the management style of the leader.

In the Theory X approach, negative, critical attitudes about employees led to the traditional top-down, approach where power and decision-making is centralized at the top and employees are bound to the organization through the threat of losing financial incentives if they do not conform and perform. On the other hand, we saw the Theory Y approach to management that had as its foundation positive views of employees and led to a horizontal, inclusive management style that focused on creating a sense of fulfillment for employees and fostered a heartfelt sense of belonging to the organization.

Organizational leaders are realizing that long-held assumptions are often wrong and instead of adding to the bottom line, actually harm productivity and inhibit maximum potential.

These two management styles are vivid examples of how a leader’s underlying assumptions about team members could be wrong and lead to a flawed and possibly destructive management style.

Whether you’re a C.E.O., director, manager, supervisor or leader of any kind of team (professional or volunteer), remember to constantly evaluate your underlying assumptions about your team members and honestly assess how these personal opinions are affecting your leadership style. Are the effects positive or negative?

Consider the following. This is just to get you started and definitely not an exhaustive list. Please think of other questions you could ask yourself. The same way you would interview a job candidate to find the best possible employee, ask yourself introspective questions to find the best leadership style for your specific team, situation and goals.

What do you really think about each of your team members?

What do you think about your overall team?

How motivated and committed are your members to the necessary work involved and the projected outcomes of the team?

What do you see your role as being within the team? For example, are you there to keep everyone in line, encourage, counsel and or any other purpose.

After EACH question be honest with yourself and ask the following: Do you have supporting proof for your answer? Can you be wrong? How could you know if this opinion is correct?

When you look below the surface and find out what really drives your leadership style, you will be in a position to make deep, lasting, positive change.

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