What do managers need most now?

At the risk of generalization, I’ve found that managers often fall into one of two camps — those who are most comfortable following a pamphlet that rarely changes and those who enjoy the idea. write a new book for their work. And in this endless age of disruption and ambiguity, the managers who are ahead are the ones who see this moment as an opportunity, not a headache.

Companies are pushing more decision-making to their frontline managers, who will have to push and make some tougher judgment calls. Just an example, Amazon announced By the end of 2021, instead of enacting a company-wide policy on in-person work, company directors will decide the days their teams need to be in the office.

These new freedoms — or pressures — will make for a difficult adjustment period for managers who contribute to their companies.”frozen between. It’s a term for the group of managers most resistant to change and an endless source of frustration for C-suite leaders trying to execute a transformation strategy. An executive I know once said shortly after joining a company that “there are too many cops here,” referring to employees who feel it’s their job to blow the whistle on anything that’s out of reach. that-not-we-do theirs. the things-around-this handrail. The optimist in me likes to think that as decision-making becomes more decentralized, managers can no longer afford that attitude.

Hybrid handling

One example where managers will need to be leaders: when managing culture in a hybrid world. There is no universal solution. Companies are still trying to find the right balance between remote and in-person work, and the best answer may vary depending on the level of collaboration the job requires.

While many bosses would like to see their employees return to the office, overly strict rules risk sending workers away to more flexible employers. “We expect that some teams will continue to work primarily remotely, others will work a combination of remote and in-office, and still others will determine the best customer service when the team works together. work mostly in the office,” wrote Amazon CEO Andy Jassy in a memo to employees. “We intentionally didn’t specify how many days or which days — this is for directors to determine with senior leadership and their team.”

It is easy to imagine the stress it can cause in a company. What if you’re on a team with a boss who decides she wants everyone to be in the office most days, while colleagues in other departments have more flexibility?

But that’s one of the realities of leadership versus management — you often have to understand that you can make unpopular decisions. To keep up, human resources will have to move from instructing people what to do to providing guidance on how to find out what must you do. That’s a point already recent crystallization by Harsha Jalihal, HR manager at MongoDB, a technology platform provider based in New York, in my interview with her.

People should think beyond the job description to which they are assigned, find ways to contribute to the broader goals of the organization, and help rewrite the handbook.

“We are no longer in a place where leadership is just about getting things done,” she said. “It became more than that. There is too much ambiguity. I can no longer write a rule book for leadership development. I can’t write a 100-page policy document on whether you should let an individual on your team work on the agile model.

“Are you the manager. You know that person. You know what’s right for them. You know their challenges. This is a framework; make the call,” she continued. “It’s a difficult position and very frustrating for a lot of people. I think HR has a role to play in teaching people how to make tough decisions.”

This is the time for everyone to “lead from your seat,” a phrase I first heard over a decade ago, when I interview Terri Ludwig, who at the time was the CEO of the nonprofit Business Community Partnership (Ludwig is now the president of the Ballmer Group, a US organization promoting social mobility based in London. Bellevue, Wash.). “No matter where you are, whatever your role in the organization, my job is to make sure that you feel empowered to lead from where you are,” Ludwig told me afterward. “It’s about realizing that in any role within an organization, you can influence change and results, and we must all do that for us to truly innovate, deliver on our mission. their destiny and make breakthroughs.”

At the time, I was drawn to both the inspiration and the aspiration of the phrase — that is, from wherever they sat in the organization. People should think beyond the job description to which they are assigned, find ways to contribute to the broader goals of the organization, and help rewrite the handbook. But taking the lead from your seat is increasingly becoming part of every manager’s job description — and it’s fast becoming a bet.

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