The best part about the current change and uncertainty of the business environment are the opportunities that fall to the managers who can encourage innovation and rally their teams to create the future.
In the past the traditional role of managers has been focused on planning, organizing, meeting projections and controlling the resources of their department. The emphasis was on improving efficiency through allocating resources and monitoring work. Management in the current business environment requires that managers exercise their skills of flexibility, agility, influence and motivation and collaboration. It is the constant change and drive for new and innovative ideas that demands these skills. Your success depends on stellar communication and leadership skills.
Managing in the future isn’t about telling people what to do, but rather about forming relationships, harnessing strengths and providing resources that empower teams to perform at their best.
There used to be a clear distinction between managers and leaders. As the work environment has changed managers, have discovered that they must develop effective leadership skills to guide direct reports through constant change and toward an uncertain but successful future. A manager’s success relies on his or her ability to motivate, influence, energize and engage others to perform at their highest potential.
Managing in the future will be less about telling people what to do and more about communicating purpose, forming relationships, knowing how to leverage the strengths of direct reports, learning how to motivate each employee to contribute skills and knowledge to foster innovation, and develop relationships across all levels leveraging them for effective collaboration and ensuring adequate resources that empower teams to perform at their best.
You’ll spend less time in your office managing data and more time with your team and customers gathering information. Learning what is important to both constituents will help to determine how to maximize engagement and encourage collaboration.
Candid Feedback is Essential
We all like to know where we stand and how we are doing, so frequent feedback is important particularly at the end of a project. This ensures that everyone is focused on initiatives that are important to department and company goals, that skills are relevant to career success, and that the right work is being done. Not only does it help to identify problems at an early stage and identify barriers that prevent optimum performance, but it also affords an opportunity to share ideas, perspective and goals.
Seeking feedback is also import ensure that you and your team are always focused on the right work and the initiatives most important to company success.
Influence versus Command and Control
The ability to influence others will have a direct impact on your effectiveness as a manager. Getting things done through command and control will not inspire anyone to give their best with enthusiasm. Management during uncertainty and into the future will require that you influence others to remain engaged, productive and to participate in the success of the department and company.
Your success as a leader will ultimately depend on what you can inspire others to do. People will not follow you simply because of your position or title. Though they may respect you because of your outstanding technical skills or unmatched knowledge, they must see something in you that compels them to follow you and want to put in extra effort for you. Begin by demonstrating a passion for their success first. When you do this they will feel compelled to respond in kind by helping you to achieve your objectives. Then demonstrate your passion for the success of the organization, for the work of the organization and for your work. That passion will inspire others.
Make the shift from being a problem solver to being solution finder. Harness the talents and input from your colleagues, direct reports, customers and your own experiences to find solutions and new opportunities.
Commit to being open to discover solutions in unlikely places. People are willing to contribute in ways that are not obvious from their job descriptions. The most successful managers take advantage of this and create an environment in which people are willing and eager to volunteer their untapped talent, knowledge and expertise.
Be a Mentor
Every great leader should be willing to share and be a mentor. Invest time to develop your direct reports, rather than simply managing them. Surround yourself with talented, passionate individuals who are engaged, eager to learn and committed to making a contribution to your organization. Take the time to learn their strengths, unique talents and their goals and provide opportunities for them to succeed with these in mind. Commit to help them to develop skills, knowledge and perspective that will enhance their effectiveness, independence and success. Your team is an extension of you, and you want to be sure that their behavior and success demonstrates your ability to successful lead at the next level of your career. Developing a team that is proficient and independent frees your time so that you can focus on honing your leadership ability, contributing as a leader and becoming more involved in initiatives that will help the company succeed. You cannot delegate if you have no one who can accept and execute the assignments you need to delegate.
Putting It All Together
As a manger you must not only understand your purpose and role in the current environment, but you must also ensure your direct reports are clear about their purpose at work. Then you must be clear about which work is the right work; the work that is important to strategic initiatives of executive leaders. You must understand company strategy and what role your department plays in that strategy. And you must be able to clearly and consistently communicate it.
The key to effective management lies in communication and relationship development. Develop the communication skills that will help you to create trust and loyalty, and influence will follow. The new rules for success rely on a more on influence, on being of value and helping others succeed. Your success will be determined by collective achievement, and impeccable communication skills are essential. Exploit the strengths of each member of your team, aggregate their collective talents, provide an environment and resources that encourage engagement and contribution, and lead them to the future of work. Harness the power of collective strengths.