Are the changing management styles we are seeing today opening the way for a new kind of leader?
Management styles are changing today. In the past, we had a strong hierarchical and "controlling" structure of management where leaders would bark out commands for his subordinates to follow.
Today, we are realising the importance of creating goals in the minds of people working in an organisation and in letting them achieve those goals in their own creative and productive way.
Furthermore, people are slowly being treated on an equal basis with their views being shared in any decision-making process within an organisation. And people are starting to understand the importance of listening to people's feelings when doing the work for an organisation.
But is this new style of management we are changing to really that "new"? Or are we recycling old knowledge?
There is a view that the "new management style" is really encompassing the complete human skills, which includes the creativity of human beings and the emotional intelligence required to understand people properly and not just the rational side that was once the pinnacle of the old management style.
Even some historians would support the view that the new management style today have always existed, only hidden away in pockets of society for thousands of years by a few quiet leaders because of our more noisy counterparts with their war-faring and conquering nature and strong reliance on military and defence policies which has promoted this old management style in the past.
Therefore the question of a 'new leader' emerging in the 21st century because of this supposedly "new" management style could be irrelevant. Perhaps some of the world's greatest leaders mentioned by a few scholarly individuals over thousands of years may have already applied the old 'masculine' and new 'feminine' management styles. We could be just reinventing old knowledge.
Whatever the truth, we do know that every human being has these skills. So one could seriously question whether we are heading towards a new leader.
Is the old management style dead and gone?
A true leader can never ignore the old management style just as much as the new management style because both have their own advantages.
For example, the old management style helps people to do things in a consistent, orderly, predictable and efficient way. As for the new management style we are seeing today, this merely adds a new dimension to the old style. The new style just helps us to focus more on people and their physical and emotional needs as a motivation tool and not so much on the work itself.
Is there such a thing as a male or female communication?
People who believe there is a male and female communication feel there is a great divide between males and females that can never be bridged and therefore there is a possibility that one side may be wrong and thus the other side has to be right.
Yes, it is possible for physical gender differences to enhance the differences in communication between males and females. But remember, there is no such thing as a true 'male or female communication'. We will always find males who can understand and communicate in a creative and emotional way. Likewise, there will always be women who can communicate in a purely rational way.
We cannot put people into boxes. In other words, we cannot say that because he is a male he must be a 'male communicator'. Similarly, because that person is a female she must be a 'female communicator'. All human beings use to some extent their L-brain, R-brain and the emotions to communicate. We just need to support one another to communicate in a balanced way. And then there will be no such thing as a 'male communicator' or a 'female communicator'.
What we should be saying is that traditional management and thus the communication style associated with certain 'military-like' leaders of the past tended to be based on a more L-brain "rational" approach. The fact that traditional management in the past had more men than women is irrelevant.
Likewise, in today's business world, the management and communication style is adding more of the "R-brain" and emotional approach to the traditional "L-brain" approach which suggests a female-type of communication.
What types of communicators are there?
So from this view, we can say that the L-brain communicator is more likely to have a few certain set-way of saying things which is considered highly efficient and rational. Thus the communicator will say things like, "This is the work to be done and this is the way it should be done."
The R-brain communicator is more likely to have a creative and flexible way of doing things. Thus the communicator will say things like, "Now that's interesting, tell me more.", or "Show me what you can achieve."
The emotional communicator is more likely to understand and focus on the emotional needs of people affected by the work (i.e. the client and the employee). Thus the communicator will say things like, "How does this work affect you emotionally?", and "How do you feel about this particular problem/solution?"
However, the aim of the so-called new management style is to combine all these communications types into one.
Is the traditional manager role modelled on typical male communication styles?
It would seem that way. But the answer is "No". It is actually modelled on L-brain communication styles. Leave out the 'male' part because all women have a L-brain and are therefore capable of communicating in the old management style.
Furthermore, the traditional manager role relying on traditional management styles of communicating still have their place in today's manager role. It is just that we have to complement the traditional "L-brain" side with the creative ("R-brain") and emotional aspects of our lives.
This inclusion of the so-called new management style to the old management style is crucial for a more complete and balanced management style in the 21st century and beyond.