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A New Leadership Style. Say Goodbye to Command and Control. (#178)

TCL Illustration 178

The Confident Leader


Spoiler Alert: The Command and control leadership style is dead, but not everyone knows it. Many leaders still employ the highly directive approach that borders on being authoritarian all the while wondering why their team isn’t responding. 

“Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.”

Simon Sinek

This Week’s Edition

A new model of leadership is calling. How will you answer? 

Clarify Your Thinking

The hierarchical leadership model referred to as command and control was born out of the military, relying on a rigid chain of command and a highly directive approach. 

In a post-World War II era, businesses benefitted from the stability this leadership model provided: clear organizational structure, centralized authority and defined roles.

Times have changed and the “institution” of leadership is changing with it, but not every leader is on board. With every passing year, command and control proves itself to no be agile enough to be effective in our current fast-paced, highly competitive business climate. 

This is leaving both Baby Boomers and some Gen X’ers wondering why their legacy leadership approach is not generating the same results it used to. 

Old Thinking: I used to tell my team what to do and they did it. They are not responding like they used to. Why is that? What’s changed? What’s wrong with them?

New Thinking: If my team is not responding to me like they used to, I have options: 1) I can make my team wrong, or 2) I can look at what I need to adjust and possibly gain new leadership skills.

Thoughts Lead to Actions

Today’s successful leaders must adopt and utilize a leadership approach which fosters collaboration, creativity, innovation, flexibility, and agility.  

Gen X leaders (who represent 62% of today’s top leaders) were trained under Baby Boomer leaders (who represent 18% of today’s top leaders) who most likely wielded command and control as their primary leadership model. Millennials (who represent 20% of top leaders) have either rejected command and control or have never heard of it. 

As Boomers leave the workforce, this means Gen X will need to partner with Millennials to define the next leadership model.

From our perspective, we see organizations rapidly adopting Coaching as a preferred leadership model which is highly collaborative relying on asking questions (vs. telling people what to do). 

As you consider a more collaborative approach to your leadership, think about these three things: 

#1: Consider those aspects of your business that may still require a directive approach:  

  • Communicating safety concerns
  • Providing instruction and training
  • Reporting performance metrics
  • Setting context for team members

#2: Consider which aspects of your business could benefit from a collaborative approach: 

  • Solving complex problems
  • Considering new ways to approach challenges 
  • Empowering others
  • Innovating

#3: Determine which open-ended questions you might want to use more frequently: 

  • Who? What? Why? When? Where?

Broadening your leadership approach to be more collaborative (asking more questions) will have a profound effect on your team. You may notice them taking more ownership for solving problems versus just completing tasks. Their critical thinking skills may improve, and they may take greater initiative, showcasing increased follow through. Try it this week and see. Start tomorrow in your weekly meeting(s). 

Boost Your Performance

This coming week, I am speaking at an organization who is betting its future on training its entire organization to be leaders. While this is admirable, the more significant point is that they are emphasizing the skill of coaching as the route to success. I put together a set of power questions that will accelerate their development. Email me at for the list. 

What’s Your Opinion?

What is your favorite “coaching” question you use to draw out the best in your team? Share it with me at

If you are going to be a leader, you might as well be a good one. Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

We live to make bad leadership extinct so forward this newsletter to others who strive to be confident leaders. 


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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.