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HOUSTON — There are a couple of ways to look at leadership style.  Earned respect, and command and control, which is to say, I’m the boss, do what I sayEarned respect requires more skill. It takes more time and energy but will generally produce sustainable results.  The I’m the boss approach is easier.  It requires less energy or skill/talent.  It can produce bottom line results but it is not sustainable.

Earned Respect

Command and Control: A Bad Option

While this is a concept straight from an entry-level management class with two choices — one with a long-term value and the other not so much — the number of people who hold on to some variation of the command and control model, particularly at the department director/manager level of an organization, is always surprising.  This should not be.


First, let me stipulate that management and leadership is something you learn.  The idea that leaders are somehow born with the skill strikes me as silly.  Leadership is learned by watching good leaders in action or, better yet, being mentored by someone who has earned the respect of their direct reports and other employees for the way they treat their colleagues and the results they produce.

New managers fall into the command and control approach because they simply do not know any better.  They stay with it because it is easier and they confuse favorable short-term results with a good management philosophy that works for them.  Worse still, they stay with it because they work for someone who also doesn’t know any better and either cannot help them change or are too self involved to invest in a direct report’s future.

The demands that healthcare reform will impose on leaders and managers will be intense.  There will be industry-wide consolidation and many jobs will be at risk.

What kinds of managers and leaders will be more susceptible to getting the sack?  Those who practice command and control over earned respect because they do not know any better or, more  sadly, because they are too lazy to change.

When you think about these two concepts, consider this:  Employees working for a leader in the Earned Respect category will almost always offer more than what is expected of them.  They will provide their passionate best.