Selecting talent, getting the best from your employees, managing the escalating aspirations of younger people and handling under-performance begin to give a flavour of just a few of the challenges today’s leader-managers face.
At a practical level, there are pressures – here are three that leaders need to be able to navigate in today’s fast-changing world of work.
(1) Agile managing
The advancement to manager is a common part of career progression. Consequently, when many professionally qualified and technical people become managers they get the title, the job description, the team, the office/desk/car and the increase in pay.
Being an agile leader-manager means you need to:
• Think about how you behave, how you approach easy and difficult things and people, noticing the effect it’s having and being deft in flexing when necessary to achieve the wanted outcome
• Assess what strengths you have in your organisation (or team) and where these strengths can be best employed – irrespective of the job role.
• Identify where the gaps are – in knowledge, experience, behaviour, attitude, engagement, contribution etc – to then fill them as quickly and efficiently as possible
The word agile means dexterous, light-footed, quick, deft, supple. Leader-managers who demonstrate agility of mind and behaviour will surely conquer opportunities and challenges presented more confidently and more effectively than those who are not.
Part of the agile leader-manager challenge you face is about knowing which hat to wear and when. The technical hat is all about getting the job done, using your technical knowledge and expertise; your leader-manager hat is all about how you get the job done through your team and other resources.
An effective leader-manager will constantly be engaging with business issues and considering them from multiple perspectives.
Yet being an effective leader-manager with people takes hard work, tenacity, practice and ongoing commitment. It requires great planning, agility in handling different people and difficult conversations, the ability to manage resistance to change in a changing landscape filled demanding employees and challenging clients.
(2) Understanding millennials at work
Millennials (or Gen Y) born 1980-1995 and they will soon make up a significant proportion of the workforce. Some employers who are stuck in the mind frame that millennials are a massive challenge to be “fixed” are now experiencing a reality check.
Millennials have a massive contribution to make, if only their leader-managers can optimise their capacities. Those who do, will be able to harness their strengths and be agile enough to attract, develop and retain them.
Read more on millennials:
- Millennials: The recruitment problem and hiring solution for SMEs
- Maintaining our skills base with an ever-changing workforce
- Freedom, promotion and pandering: The best ways to retain your millennial workforce
The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016 predicts they will make up 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025.
“44% of the millennials surveyed say they would like to leave their current employers in the next two years.”
What’s important to millennials? The most consistent findings about what motivate them as a group (and remember, individuals may differ) say:
• The opportunity for skills, technical and personal development
• Leadership skill development
• The opportunity for career progression
• Alignment of personal and organisation’s values
• Work- life balance and
• Flexible working using technology
Successful leader-managers find and address employees’ individual drivers, preferences and values. If you as a leader learn about what is important to your employees and why, you’ll have a better handle on how best to motivate, engage or re-engage and retain them.
Continue reading on the next page for the final pressure leader-managers can expect to face in today’s workplace.
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