When you think of a manager, the very first image that comes to your mind is that of a person sitting inside a chamber, monitoring a team or department with people reporting to him. The manager reports to someone higher in the hierarchy or directly to the employer or director.
For more than a century, the role of the manager has been confined to the five basic principles of planning, organizing, directing, staffing and controlling. It is a well-defined set of actions that provided managers with a comfort zone and was efficient in controlling a stable market that operated within a confined territory.
The Changing Role of Managers in Modern Times
Times have, however, changed dramatically. The market these days is no longer confined to specific territories; people are more knowledgeable in their own domain than ever before and the market has become fiercely competitive.
In order to survive in today’s cut-throat competition, companies, therefore, require managers who can remodel their role and shift their focus from the age-old comfort zone to take on the challenges of the new, emerging markets and trends in management.
Managers today are often expected to ‘manage’ their boss or seniors with their own inputs and insights. So management is no longer confined to the top-down hierarchy model based on authority.
Furthermore, managers also interact and build relationships with partners and customers for the growth of the organization. Here again, the role of a manager is no longer a one-sided dictatorial one.
Flexibility, adaptability and creativity are the new qualities that managers of modern times should inculcate rather than a strict hierarchy-based, authoritative way of managing their tasks.
Focus on Learning instead of Knowledge
Every manager joins an organization with a set of skills acquired through education and experience. However, with rapid improvement in technology (especially the introduction and use of Artificial Intelligence), today’s knowledge will no longer be relevant within the next few decades.
Businesses of the future will focus more on mental prowess rather than manual monitoring and out-of-box thinking rather than efficiently accomplishing repetitive tasks.
This means the modern manager will continuously have to expand his knowledge base and learn new things rather than depend on his existing knowledge and skills.
Delegate instead of being a Control-Freak
Managers are yet to come out of the existing notion of controlling the work of those reporting to them. Too many managers waste precious time micromanaging. They are unable or unwilling to delegate responsibilities either because they are control-freaks or insecure about themselves.
However, this detrimental attitude restricts the growth and development of other employees and ultimately the organization. A kind of stagnancy sets in and affects the competitive ability of the organization to survive and surge ahead.
Today, managers must remodel their role and take everybody into confidence while discussing issues and assignments. The idea is to bring out the best from each and every employee, encourage them to think on their own and make them more confident about taking on new challenges.
Create New Leaders
Traditional managers are scared of developing new leadership from the bottom. They are afraid of competition that may one day cost their own job.
However, the best managers who are absolutely confident of themselves always encourage others to rise up the corporate ladder. They have the prudence to understand that the organization always comes first and fresh blood is needed to keep it viable in the competitive market.
Moreover, there might be subordinates who know more about a thing or two than the manager himself. Encouraging such employees, including them in important decisions, allowing them to place their own view – all of this creates future leaders that can steer the company in the right direction through the decades and changing times.
Be Innovative rather than Repetitive
Most managers are most comfortable working in a stable environment where everything works smoothly as planned and predicted. That way, they are sure of being in control over their subordinates, deliver results as predicted and justify their own salaries.
However, this type of repetitive monitoring year in and year out hardly works in today’s rapidly changing market scenario. Businesses today require managers who are not afraid to experiment, innovate and take on new challenges.
When you want your company to have a great balance sheet, always encourage managers to innovate under each and every situation instead of following a set path.
Be Proactive instead of being Authoritative
While micromanaging and an authoritative attitude will never help an organization to grow, managers should not confine themselves to their cabins either. They should instead interact with the team in a positive manner. And a ‘positive’ manner means encouraging employees to learn from their mistakes, developing new skill sets and guiding them on how to deal with a tricky situation on their own.
Managers today need to be more proactive instead of just doing a few rounds of the department every few hours. They need to be more involved and encouraging rather than thrust their decisions on others.
Avoid being a Problem Solver
The archetypal manager considers problem-solving as one of his foremost responsibilities. Keeping the department working smoothly is his prime goal. However, therein lies the problem with this typical mindset among today’s managers.
To keep up with the times, businesses need more than just employees who are attuned to doing the same job in the same way. The goal of today’s managers is to break this comfort zone and put up challenges that encourage people to think differently, share ideas and come up with unique solutions that are worth a try.
Today’s managers should have the foresight to understand the challenges of the future and develop their team accordingly.
Look toward the Future
The role of today’s managers is no longer restricted to managing day-to-day issues so that the company is able to maintain a sustainable balance sheet. Rather, they should look to the future, understand the challenges and be ready to learn and teach their juniors on how to develop themselves.
An organization that is evolving continuously is more likely to survive through turbulent times and managers play a crucial role in it.