How To Be A Top Manager In The Future Workplace

How To Be A Top Manager In The Future Workplace

What will business be like in five years? ten years? fifteen years?–all of these are common topics in online articles, talk shows, and businesses luncheons. Thought leaders regularly weigh in on the future of work, especially with the constant introduction of newer, faster, and better technology to increase productivity, save time, and demand new skill sets–while reducing the need for others.

Jacob Morgan, the Co-Founder of Chess Media Group and the Future Of Work Community, understands there is a lot of research on the future of work–but what is lacking are real principles to guide individuals and teams as they transition to this new way of working. In his new book released today, The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization, Morgan introduces very specific guideposts and recommendations for future employees, future managers, and future organizations to help everyone understand how the future of work impacts them. Our team had the opportunity to talk with Morgan about the concepts in his new book, especially about the impact on employee engagement and the need for management styles to dramatically change.

The Future Workplace

Managers & The Future Of Work

The success of social initiatives, from a new intranet redesign to the launch of a new enterprise social network, is often determined by senior leadership and managers. In the future of work, Morgan says that we need to re-think the way we manage and lead teams. The original role of management, he points out, was to supervise and police in previous economic eras–with no flexibility for innovation or creativity–giving this position a highly negative connotation. In this new economy, this mentality must change. Employees are no longer expecting reviews once or twice a year, but want feedback in real-time. Requesting purchases can no longer require a long approval process, since employees expect to be empowered to make their own decisions.

Most importantly, managers can no longer assume that employees need to work somewhere as opposed to want to work there.

So, how can current leaders prepare for these changes in the workforce? Morgan outlined qualities a top manager must have:

Embracing Vulnerability In The Future Workplace

Traditionally, managers have two sides–a stoic, robotic-like, emotionless side in the workplace and a true, personal side at home. In the new economy, successful leaders must be willing to embrace vulnerability and show their true personalities in the office. Though this might seem counterintuitive to some, employees don’t want to work for someone they don’t know. Leaders willing to be “real” people to their teams build trust and engagement–both key to performance and retention.

Serving Employees

As Morgan explained, managers have previously been responsible for dictating the activities of employees. In the future, though, the expectations of the employee experience are changing. Going forward, managers will be responsible for serving employees–not the other way around. Their role is shifting from simply giving orders, directives, and instructions to actively empowering and engaging employees.

Setting Personal Boundaries

It is becoming more and more common for employees to suffer from device fatigue and exhaustion from always being available on a phone or tablet. Successful managers in the new economy understand that people need to have distinct boundaries and cannot be forced to always be available. Without boundaries, employees risk burnout, exhaustion, and resentment. Building highly effective teams in the future of work will require managers to establish parameters of communication early–allowing employees to have better control over their lives.

Utilizing Collective Intelligence

Mangers in the future of work must believe in the power of tapping into the collective wisdom of all the employees they work with. Instead of being overly controlling and disseminating information from one source, future leaders must believe in utilizing the collective intelligence of their businesses and participating in bi-directional communication and feedback. This could potentially take the form of reverse mentoring, where experienced employees educate executives on new social concepts, or even executives teaching other executives.

Put simply, some managers will not be able to adapt to this new way of working–and employees will not want to work for them. As a result, there will be different types of managers in future which, as Morgan notes, is a great thing. Some current managers will adapt, others will be trained and mentored–while some may not be able to continue in their current roles. In the Future of Work, Morgan emphasizes that individuals–whether current leaders or not–who can showcase their personalities, empower their employees, respect boundaries, and leverage collective intelligence will be the most successful of all.