Changing Leadership Styles in the Print Industry

Changing Leadership Styles in the Print IndustryLeadership styles are always evolving—changes have been especially notable in the past ten years.

It used to be that the most effective leadership style was “Command and Control.” This style was inspired by the way we led our troops in World War II. This method has continued to find favor right up to the present moment in the print industry.

However, this leadership style has given way to a more effective style we can label “Inspire and Engage.”

In a command and control environment, leaders decide to tell everyone what to do, and subordinates are expected follow orders.

On the other hand, leaders can choose an inspire and engage style. In this environment, we communicate to our team the vision, mission, values, milestones, and plans that will inspire them. Then we ask them to personally get engaged in helping the company to achieve those print industry goals.

Certainly, print industry leaders need to have some level of command and control in order to hold people accountable for their work. Ultimately, however, the fuel for significant growth and achievement in our printing businesses must come from an inspire and engage leadership style.

Changing leadership styles is not an overnight process. It takes time.

Here are several ideas to help implement an inspire and engagee leadership style. These can be useful to you whether you are the CEO, customer service manager, or the sales manager:

Communicate Your Vision and Goals Relative to the Print Industry

This may seem obvious, but if we want to accomplish goals or achieve our vision, we have to let others know what our goals are and what our big picture vision is. This helps the team cement in their own minds what success looks like and what it will mean to them when their department or company hits the target.

Create Plans as a Team

Call your team together as you begin to outline the plans needed to accomplish your goals. Since they are involved, they will be inspired and engaged in helping the team reach those goals.

Develop Scorekeeping Mechanisms

Everyone wants to know the score so they know how close they are to achieving success. Keeping score will keep the team engaged and inspire them on to future efforts. Additionally, scorekeeping helps the team make mid-course adjustments if they are falling short.

Initiate Regular Team Meetings

Engage your team in meetings at regular intervals—monthly at a minimum—to review the team’s progress toward the goals. After the review, ask the team members what could be improved to further engage them in the effort. Depending on the ideas for improvement, you may want to establish another team to tackle those new ideas.

Provide Recognition

At regular intervals, provide the necessary motivation to keep the fires burning and your team fueled for additional progress through recognition. Recognition could take many forms, including group recognition, money, time off, dinner and a movie, or anything else that helps people feel appreciated and recognized.

If you operate in the print industry today, you’ll certainly find that inspire and engage is a much more effective leadership style than command and control.

How do you see others use inspire-and-engage strategies, or how do you effectively employ inspire and engage strategies in your area of responsibility?

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