Managers need new thinking for the social era

The world of work continually changes  and so do the qualities and characteristics of the managers who will be leading companies and organisations.  Work isn’t the same as it used to be and we are seeing dramatic changes in both behaviour and technology in our personal lives and in our professional lives.  Just because managers were successful in the past doesn’t mean they will be successful in the future.

Five qualities that help their managers to evolve and succeed in the new era of work are:

Following from the front

The future management model is all about removing obstacles from the paths of their people in order to help them succeed.  This means more than managing people to empower and engage them.  Old style management was based on managing by fear and the use of command and control.  Employees used to work hard to allow their managers to succeed  – today it’s the manager who is responsible for making sure their employees succeed.  If people really are the most valuable asset we have moved on from managers who said “jump” and the employees saying, “how high?”  Now managers are jumping with employees.

Understand technology

Managers don’t need become IT professionals. However they do need to understand the overall technology landscape and its impact the way we are working today.  This means having a good feel for what is happening in social and collaborative technologies and how they are making their way into the business and what the implications of that are.  Managers who have a good understanding of what is happening with technology will always be able to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Lead by example

Your people will do what you do not what you say. It used to be good enough for managers to say they ‘supported’ something.  A manager would just need to approve the budget, approve an initiative and say “now get on with it.”  When it comes to the future of work that is no longer enough.  Managers need to commit to more than just funding and initiative collaboration.  They need to be the people on the ground using the same tools, demonstrating the same behaviours that the rest of the employees are being asked to implement.  There is no way that employees can make the changes needed unless they see their managers doing the same.

Embrace vulnerability

Vulnerability goes hand in hand with being open and transparent. Employees and customers want managers to be human and vulnerability is a human trait.  Business is no longer B2C or B2B it’s H2H – human to human.

We can go our whole business lives learning how to be the opposite of vulnerable and put up ‘shield’ up to keep people from seeing us when we are vulnerable; yet  vulnerability is the absolute heartbeat of innovation and creativity.  In fact there is zero innovation without vulnerability.  Demonstrating vulnerability isn’t about being weak it’s about being courageous; a key quality that for todays managers.

Belief in sharing

Remember the old adage ‘knowledge is power’?

Traditionally managers sat at the top of a company and had access to all of the information required to make decisions. Managers would give out the orders and the employees had to act on those orders without asking any questions.  Today managers can’t hold on to information – they need to share information and use the collective intelligence of all the team.  To succeed in an ever increasing completive world, managers now rely on employees to help make decisions