In a previous blog, (The Times, They Keep Changing), I outlined the vast changes impacting our world of work today. Today’s blog entry focuses on what is critical to be a great manager and leader in today’s changing world.
Managers and leaders need to have a more complete set of competencies, skills and traits. Both EQ (emotional intelligence) and IQ are critical – it is not an either/or proposition. Today it is clearly a both/and equation.
To keep up, a manager and leader has to DO well at the following:
- Get back to basics when everything around you diverts you into complexity
- Make strategic planning a way of life in your organization
- Set clear expectations of what excellence looks like
- Communicate constantly about your strategies and excellence
- Build a high performing culture that supports your strategies and brings them to life
- Provide continuous feedback
- Constantly learn and unlearn
What Remains…What Evolves
Certain aspects and behaviors of leaders and managers that were important 25 years ago are still critical today and will likely still be important 100 years from now. These include acting with integrity, leading by example, developing talent and ensuring customer satisfaction/loyalty.
However, there are vast differences between the old-style of administrating and directing and the new idea of guiding and inspiring. Today’s managers and leaders are faced with a whole new set of expectations in the way they motivate employees, setting the tone for most everything else within the organization. Employees today not only don’t want to be managed, in most cases, they simply won’t be managed. Today’s employee wants to be led. They want to participate and engage in every aspect of their job. Creating a two way relationship is critical.
Another significant shift for managers and leaders today is the necessity of thinking globally. The impact of globalization has affected all aspects of business. Appreciating and leveraging diversity is an additional shift that correlates to our world becoming smaller and smaller; the broad expansion of businesses spans seas, cultures, and religions. In addition to these actions and areas of focus, leaders and managers today must be more innovative and more proactive, anticipating problems and opportunities as well as entirely new markets and products.
The following chart captures the changes that are both occurring and necessary.
|Area||25 Years Ago||Today|
|Focus||Managing work||Managing results AND leading people|
|Thinking horizon||Short term||Short term AND Long term|
|Approach to work||Plans details||Sets direction and monitors|
|Fine tuning what is||Creating entirely new/what could be|
|Decision making||Made them||Facilitates them|
|Energy||Controlling others||Passion for the work, the company, the industry and the people|
|Risk taking||Avoided it||Takes it and enables others to take it|
|Rules||Made them and measured to them||Breaks them and encourages others to do the same|
|Conflict||Avoided it||Uses it|
|Concerned with||Being right||Doing what is right|
Keeping up is a challenge, but understanding these shifts can help you begin to take the necessary steps to enhance your abilities as a leader or manager today.