Managers are confronted with new realities in today’s work environment.
Emerging trends are quickly reshaping the world of work as we know it and redefining manager-employee dynamics. This means that the nature of your managers’ job may be different from what they signed up to.
- Remote and hybrid work models are becoming the norm. A recent survey found that 73% of employees want flexible remote work. Less face time in an office requires us to be more conscious and disciplined about how we communicate as a team.
- Teams value human connection. According to a Mckinsey report employees prioritize feeling appreciated and connected over compensation when deciding whether to stay or move on from a company. There is a notable need for a more human-centric management style.
- Technology is impacting the way work is done. Gartner predicts that almost 69% of managers’ routine work could be automated by 2024.
- Managing during a looming recession. A number of companies have started restructuring initiatives in the wake of a recession. Managing teams in a downturn is different from managing teams during a bull market. Maintaining team morale to achieve business objectives while the sky is falling adds complexity.
Managers are central to employee experience and managers’ actions have a direct impact on team performance and wellbeing. It is not surprising that Gartner found that 60% of HR leaders consider leadership and managerial effectiveness a top priority for 2023.
How can companies ensure that their managers are the people leaders they need?
Identify key challenges
Start with investigating what challenges your managers are facing. These insights can help you identify trends and adapt your learning and development support accordingly. Talk to your managers about the key issues they’re dealing with. What can often come up is team motivation, giving constructive feedback or leading remote teams. You can complement their inputs with data from employee engagement surveys.
Share best practices
Leverage successful managers within your organization. Identify what makes them successful and share those practices and behaviors with others. You can share strategies around how managers can build the right environment for collaboration, how to offer constructive feedback to help employees grow or how to set the right goals that can help accelerate team performance.
Create communities to support your managers
Peer support can be very valuable. Invite managers to weekly or monthly forums, where they can discuss their challenges and share experiences. Discussions can be open or facilitated on specific topics. Such meaningful conversations can help managers gather feedback and uncover creative solutions that help them strengthen their leadership capabilities.
Provide development opportunities
Invest in managers’ professional development to equip them with the right skills and mindset to successfully lead teams.
Using one-on-one coaching to develop your managers can be a powerful tool. These confidential coaching sessions empower managers to explore their own strengths and development areas. Coaches help challenge their thinking and keep them accountable for converting good intentions into positive actions that support their teams’ development and performance.
Reward managers for more than just results
Just as team members have shifted their values in the workplace, recognition practices should as well. This is just smart leadership, as managers who show high levels of empathy have 3x the impact on their employees’ performance relative to those who show low levels of empathy. Provide recognition and highlight success stories of those managers who live the values of your organization and create a positive work environment for their teams.
Help managers optimize their time
With new technologies, organizations have more tools and resources at their disposal to help teams optimize their time and energy. You can leverage tools that help automate repetitive tasks and enable managers to get insights into their team members’ workloads. This can help managers refocus their time and attention on higher-impact relationships. Take the time to evaluate which tech tools your organization could benefit from and make sure that everyone knows how to use them properly.
Managers are the key to unlock performance and team wellbeing. While the world of work is evolving, in a changing economic environment, investing in your managers’ development is crucial. Organizations and HR professionals must take proactive steps in order to develop the skills and mindsets of managers in line with the demands of today’s workforce. Ultimately, by doing so, they’ll create teams that are engaged and productive.