Total Rewards Asia Summit 2024 Singapore
3 key attributes for managers to develop in 2024

3 key attributes for managers to develop in 2024

"As the maxim goes, a successful team manager is first a successful human resources manager for the team. By prioritising resilience, fostering innovation, and advocating for their team members, managers will undoubtedly steer future organisations towards success", author Kumar Abhishek, Senior HR Leader and Adjunct Professor-OBHR, says.

Post pandemic workplaces have undergone a profound transformation, prompting a paradigm shift that demands a closer examination of the evolving role of managers. While much attention has been rightly directed towards addressing the challenges faced by employees, the seismic changes occurring within the managerial sphere cannot be overlooked. In today's TUNA (Turbulent, uncertain, novel & ambiguous) times, traditional managerial playbooks no longer suffice.

With teams dispersing to remote locations, work hours becoming more flexible, and engagement initiatives transitioning online, managers find themselves navigating uncharted territory. The altered dynamics between managers and their teams, compounded by personal uncertainties, present a unique set of challenges. Yet, amidst this upheaval, managers have never been more integral to organisational success. Their roles have transcended those of mere professional experts to encompass that of problem solvers and holistic coaches, bridging the gap between organisational objectives and employee needs.

In this article, we explore the top three attributes that define successful managers in this new dynamic landscape, guiding them through the challenges of the new normal and beyond.

1. Build team/organisational resilience

Alvin Toffler defined 'Future shock' in his book by the same name as the ‘social paralysis induced by too much change in too short period of time’. Today, our organisations are feeling the next wave of rapid changes under pandemic through technological advances, social disruptions and blurring of boundaries between office and home. All at the same time.

Managers need to acknowledge the change fatigue and help their teams to cope with compassion.

Empathy and emotional intelligence are two most important traits for managers to lead the team in coming times. These traits will help organisations solve the problem of ‘will’ shortage which is different than ‘skill’ shortage. Rapid changes reduce the ‘will’ of the employee faster than the “skill’ to do the job. The manager needs to encourage teams to enhance their ability to improvise in order to thrive in the ever-changing business/social contexts.

Successful managers can embed learning, unlearning and relearning in their teams as part of regular adaptation process. Resilience is a strategic capability and mangers and team that embraces it will change crises into opportunities.

2. Innovate for impact

Digital transformation marks a radical rethinking of how an organisation uses technology, people and processes to fundamentally change business performance, says George Westerman, MIT principal research scientist and author of Leading digital: Turning technology into business transformation. Managers need to lead the digital transformation and encourage the teams to successfully integrate it in their business processes. The digital transformation is not about technology but innovation. The advent of AI, blockchain, machine learning, augmented reality, IoT, and collaboration tools are not standalone technologies but effective only with the alignment with business strategy and its processes.

The future of business depends upon innovation and managers need to inculcate this critical skill into their teams. They need to proactively partner with people function to build or buy critical skills and competencies for innovation in their team. Managers can ignite the innovation spark by ensuring that teams are empowered, playing to their strengths, are diverse and have the psychological safety to experiment.

The long-term success of any team or organisation is dependent upon innovation. Managers' role would be crucial in creating conducive environment for a culture of collaboration and innovation.

3. Be your team’s advocate

Gartner's latest research reveals a staggering statistic: 57% of employees encounter significant barriers in their day-to-day work. Amidst a landscape where the average employee navigates through 12 organisational changes annually, ranging from major restructuring to leadership transitions, the role of the manager becomes paramount.

Beyond merely overseeing tasks, effective managers are the frontline champions who mitigate workplace friction and dismantle inter or intra-divisional barriers hindering team progress.

They intimately understand their team's strengths, challenges, and aspirations, acting as their voice to the broader organisation to drive effective results.

The power of a manager's advocacy directly correlates with their ability to influence the organisation positively. By removing obstacles and authentically representing their team's potential, influential managers foster an environment where team members thrive. However, the journey does not end here. Going a step further, managers transcend the traditional employer mindset to embody that of an entrepreneur. They meticulously analyse market dynamics, competitive landscapes, regulatory frameworks, and available resources, strategically leveraging them to maximise team productivity.

This transformative shift empowers managers to not only achieve optimum results but also earn the respect and admiration of their team members, solidifying their position as influential leaders within the organisation.

Lead image / Provided (Pictured: Kumar Abhishek)

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