We’re all aware that this is a unique time in the history of leadership. The past few months have resulted in many being laid off or furloughed from their positions, while others are being sent home to work from home offices.
The traditional, show up to the office model is shattered, and that is leading a transformation in management and leadership.
Industrial Age Leadership
In the Industrial Age, the focus was on the production of goods. Manufacturers and factories were the main workplaces and specialized labor was the norm. Success was measured by how many products were produced and sent to be sold.
Outputs vs. outcomes.
Workforce management in the Industrial Age was command and control. Show up on time, stay in your work zone, complete your tasks, go home at the end of eight hours, and then return the next day for the same all over again.
We’ve all had managers that simply couldn’t believe we could work at home and be productive. If those managers couldn’t see your face, you obviously weren’t working.
We also know that is not at all true.
Technology Age Leadership
In the economy of 2020, the paradigm has changed for most professional work. Today, people are doing more tours of duty and have side gigs. These workers are producing a portfolio of work, and probably have many skills at their disposal.
Since teams can be connected 24-7, there is less reason to all congregate in the same location for many hours per day to prove the work is getting done. Managers are being forced to focus much less on output and far more on outcomes. How the work gets done is less important than the results.
Is the work getting done properly and on time?
As a leader, are you going with this flow, or resisting the new normal?
Leadership and Management
There are differences between leadership and management.
Leadership tasks include:
- Focusing on goals
- Taking risks
- Encouraging innovation
- Fostering ideas
- Focusing on tasks
- Minimizing risks
- Following the rules
The place where the two intersect is the most important in the new model.
- Accomplishing a goal
- Mobilizing resources
- Explaining vision
Updating Management and Leadership Skills
How well are you as a leader enabling your staff to accomplish organizational goals? Are you mobilizing your resources and explaining your vision so your employees know where the organization is headed and can work toward that vision?
Command and control are much less effective when your staff is not directly in front of you and physically among their peers. A more hands-off approach by affirming the needed deliverables or product and negotiating the plan for completion is more productive in today’s virtual workforce.
As a manager and as a leader, you need to smooth the path for your team to complete the work, not necessarily tell them how to do it.
Today’s manager understands what the final outcome needs to be, and doesn’t worry as much about tasks to get there. If you’ve hired well, your employees know what they need to do to produce.
The New Management Contract
Leading a modern workforce requires a move away from the traditional Industrial Age model and a move toward the Technology Age standard.
Less focus on outputs and much more focus on outcomes.
The New Management Contract embraces a leadership style that migrates from the traditional command and control and to a much more collaborative style. With this new model, employees can be more productive, creative, and happy with their contribution to the organization’s success.
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