Old School Manager or Modern Leader?

Becoming Relevant for the Now

Legacy cultures built and reinforced systems of conditioned people dependencies, rather than on strategic nodes and smart, modular leverage points.

Learn (because you don't know what you don't know) and dare (because to not follow the status quo requires courage) to practice (because it is not an ego play) how to be the alternative modern leader — masterfully.

Next, allow for spread. Via your aware actions, observable behavior, and people's unprompted, positive narratives about your impact on them.

Modern endeavors to migrate out of the left column and begin to occupy behaviors in the right.


Old School Manager
Modern Leader
Takes what her Manager says and acts as the “flow-er down-er”
Curates top line vision + strategy collaboratively to then be shaped into priorities locally
Instructs the team
Holds space for purpose, strategy, priorities + outcomes with the team
Manages the silo
Represents the team’s purpose and strategy within the broader environment of the organisation
Absorbs and takes care of all the tensions felt by those in the team e.g. rescues, over-functions + triangulates
Stands up meetings with smart designs and safe protocols, clear org, team and role accountabilities to continually bring to the surface what is relevant as a way of culturally operating and healthfully functioning
Ignores, dodges, and denies
Stands up meetings with smart designs and safe protocols to distribute systemic authority and agency allowing curiosity, needs, information, and ideas as a way to culturally norm and healthfully function
Creates dependencies, parents, teaches collective helplessness
Expects and nurtures agency, voice, and the ability to deliver confidently on accountabilities
Controls time
Expects teams to deliver outcomes using time how it works best for their minds and rhythms — within the scope, timeline, and resources agreed to by the group
Manages processes
Builds open, connected systems through software technology, principles, practices, meeting and teaming tooling to co-create dynamic teaming and priority outcome delivery
Unboundaried decisioning
Runs decisioning technologies e.g. uses right method(s) for right reason, at the right time, with the right audience, and from roles’ accountabilities + decision spheres
Thinks only vertically, locally, and mechanically
Thinks spatially, strategically, systemically, emergently
Manages a siphoned off vertical
Maintains sphere boundaries for scope, purpose, strategy, and prioritisation while ensuring open lines horizontally for broad optimisation, uptake, and system intelligence
Delegates projects, tasks, beingness
Designs + routes priorities and capacity (not tasks) collaboratively as a dynamic metric and overt function of team’s operations
Picks and chooses what information to share; “protects” information from the children
Ensures visibility of information (~99%) understanding the connected nature of delivery, accountabilities, and timelines — and to abate any cultural infantilising of the adults
Runs ad hoc interference on team members work, flow, delivery, decisioning, voice
Surfaces for discussion lack of clarity across re: work, flow, roles, decisioning, policies
Plans, aligns, assigns, cascades
Builds alternative operating models, rhythms, prioritisation methods, and dashboarding to dovetail with vision and objectives, cyclically
Builds fixed systems expecting the world to stand still
Actively and constantly builds fluid structures to expose and handle the system’s dynamic nature, strategic functioning + outcome-focused, rhythmic delivery
Creates fixed jobs and drafts job descriptions that easily become outdated
Facilitates creation and clarity around roles needing playing on teams and within functions for a better choreographed system dance
Expresses what is the work and gets involved everywhere in how work gets accomplished
Honors own role, its boundaries, authority, and decisioning options — allowing others’ expression as well for tighter coordination on delivering outcomes
Owns and operates the mysterious and/or magical budget
First creates some version of financial transparency to enable agency, maturity, and accountability, on the whole and fractally around cash and its flow
Unilateral authority
Operates within the boundaries of her collectively understood authority for assumption busting, healthy constraints, and trust
Tells people what to do
Respects the sovereignty and authority of role holders to deliver outcomes per their intelligence and for the reason you smartly hired them
Lobs work over the fence willy nilly
Holds her own portfolio of strategic priorities and delivery outcomes, meaning does real work on real targets in real timeframes, and builds out that work flow as intentionally as everyone else
Taskmaster and Timekeeper
Understands time spent laying groundwork to design smart operating structures and leading from clear organisational understanding of roles builds trust and biases groups to more innovative thinking and tangible outcomes



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