Improving D-Style Managers’ Effectiveness

Assumptions That Can Get Them in Trouble

Even if we’d never say them out loud, we all have unconscious assumptions that sometimes get us into trouble. Here are some common ones that D-style managers sometimes make.

I’m the manager—people need to adapt to me

• Praise should be used very sparingly

I don’t need to be tactful if I’m being honest

I can’t show weakness or vulnerability

• People are getting paid—they don’t need morale building

I’m the best suited to make most decisions

• It’s fine to use a little intimidation to get things done

• People who need emotional support are expecting coddling

• I should be the one in control

• If we get results, that’s what matters

• Everyone should be as driven as I am

• I’m the manager—it’s ok if I lose my temper

I can’t slow down


Unintended Consequences for Their Team

• We’re burned out

• We don’t dare challenge the boss

• We don’t take risks to innovate

• We waste energy covering our butts

• We hide our mistakes

• We don’t trust the organization


Helping Your D-style Managers Rethink Their Role

A key to developing these managers is helping them truly appreciate the value of empathy in leadership. By understanding other perspectives, they see that not everyone shares their sense of urgency and that they can often get better results in the end by showing compassion in the moment.

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