By Linda A. Hill and Kent Lineback, contributors
FORTUNE -- Next time you watch an action movie, look for the obligatory scene when the person in charge goosesteps through a crowd of underlings barking orders right and left, each ending with an emphatic "...NOW!"
Perhaps in the minds of the young males for whom those movies are usually made, that's how bosses should act. But such behavior has fallen out of favor in most organizations today for good reason. As a manager and leader dealing with problems and solutions not easily defined or specified, you need every possible ounce of people's intelligence, knowledge, judgment, creativity, and passion. Because such things can only be given, not compelled, casting every request or direction in terms of "Do it now because I'm in charge!" isn't likely to elicit people's full commitment.
Nothing, however, is black and white. We once got to know the editorial staff of a magazine published by a large association of professionals. It was produced by an editor and five intelligent and knowledgeable -- not to mention opinionated and independent -- senior editors.
When the editor left, the association decided to replace her role with an editorial committee of the senior editors, who were delighted by the opportunity to make their own decisions. More
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