Like all aspect of business, management is evolving in the modern, hyperconnected workforce. While the purpose of management remains to coordinate and organize a combined effort from a team of professionals, how we do that and the expectations of people in those roles has changed rapidly in the last twenty years – something important to keep in mind for anyone new to the position or overseeing a quickly growing team of middle managers.
Does management really need to change?
Consider for a moment the state of today’s worker. About two thirds of employees are unhappy at work, and at any given time, nearly three quarters are looking for a new job or would be willing to take a new job if an offer came along. People are less invested in their jobs than ever before, and management’s role in empowering and supporting those individuals is therefore even more important.
The Management Tactics of the Past
In the past, management relied on a very simple structure – one that worked for a largely immobile workforce that would stay loyal to a company for years or even decades at a time. This involved a control-oriented management approach in which a manager told employees what to do, and innovation and problem solving started at the top and worked down. Executives were responsible for new ideas and would then disseminate to the rest of the company when things needed to change.
Things have obviously changed. Today’s workforce is less inclined to respond to a top-down, control-oriented approach, and the turnover rates in many small and growing companies reflects that.
So, what can we do differently?
Shifting to an Inspiration and Participation Driven Business Structure
Management is evolving to be less structured. Increasingly rare are the days of the person on top directing the troops. Effective management now focuses on two important things:
- Setting Clear Objectives– Goals are a must, but what do they really mean? Increasingly management must work towards setting objectives for their team, and defining the key results they want to see from those objectives. Employees are becoming more involved in the process of defining these objectives as well, giving them greater freedom in how they achieve the results.
- Inspiration– The goal of any manager is for their team to succeed. A manager should provide the scope of the project with clear objectives to reach towards, but then provide freedom needed to get it done. You are a resource and a supporting pillar in the daily efforts of your team, but shouldn’t be directly guiding every action they take.
To make this a reality, the top down approach no longer works. Many organizations, especially bigger ones have long since shifted to a bottom up data approach – where information and insights are gathered from every level to better inform decisions at the managerial level.
But even more so, managers should look for ways to make decisions and guide future endeavors with the full participation of their teams. Collaboration across all levels of an organization provide the kinds of key insights that management alone may not be able to see due to their unique role.
The Future of Management is Always in Flux
Every manager has the opportunity to inspire and teach excellence in their team. The methods by which this is done are constantly shifting. The traits we see in successful managers are similarly not as cut and dry as they once were. Keep an open mind, constantly work towards improvement for yourself and your team, and focus on how you can inspire and motivate in new and creative ways. Management is evolving and this is how you will generate real results in your ongoing efforts.