Few of us crave a return to the days of command-and-control management. The fearsomeness, the yelling—it doesn’t come naturally to a lot of leaders, and it’s just as well. While company cultures may still vary wildly by employer, new technology over the past two decades has bent the arc of the modern workplace toward transparency, collaboration, and a democratization of ideas. None of this favors those who would seek to lead by intimidation.
The expectation now is for managers to engage, inspire, and coach their teams. On this much, leaders of decent workplaces would agree. But what are the best mechanisms for accomplishing that? Here, consensus is harder to come by, and new managers (and even more experienced ones) are often left to learn by trial and error.
Is feedback delivered best in a sandwich of positive comments or not? How accommodating do employers really need to be when employees face new responsibilities at home? What do career paths look like for people who are seeking better balance, working beyond traditional retirement age, or hoping to achieve long-term success without ever becoming a manager?