Tip #748: How Managers Need to Change

“Success in management requires learning as fast as the world is changing.” Warren Bennis

In their article “The Role of a Manager Has to Change in Five Key Ways” in The Harvard Review, Joseph Pistrui and Dimo Dimov state that management is inefficient because the role and purpose of a manager are no longer appropriate for our constantly changing world. https://hbr.org/2018/10/the-role-of-a-manager-has-to-change-in-5-key-ways

Planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling: the default functions of a manager (established almost 100 years ago by management theorist Henri Fayol) are no longer appropriate.

Pistrui and Dimov identify five changes managers need to make in order for their organizations to meet today’s challenges. They need to move from:

Directive to Instructive: “Learning, not knowledge, will power organizations into the future; and the central champion of learning should be the manager.”

Restrictive to Expansive: Employees need to develop their ability to think and make decisions for organizations to remain competitive. This means that the tendency of many managers to micromanage needs to end.

Exclusive to Inclusive: ”…when facing new situations, the best managers create leadership circles, or groups of peers from across the firm, to gain more perspective about problems and solutions” instead of making decisions on their own. “Truly breakaway thinking gets its spark from the playful experimentation of many people exchanging their views, integrating their experiences, and imagining different futures.”

Repetitive to Innovative: Rather than encouraging predictability and perpetuating the status quo, organizations need managers to think about innovating. “Companies need to learn that their successes should not distract them from innovation. The best time to innovate is all the time.”

Problem Solver to Challenger: Rather than only focusing on “putting out fires,” managers need to find better ways to operate the firm. This requires practicing more reflection — to understand what challenges to pursue, and how one tends to think about and respond to those challenges.”

Employer to Entrepreneur: Employees need to stop having to continually think about pleasing their managers. The emphasis instead has to be on customers, competitors, innovations, marketplace trends and organizational performance. For this to occur, the manager needs to start thinking like an entrepreneur.  Thinking like an entrepreneur simply means to expand your perception and increase your action — both of which are important for finding new gateways for development. And this would make organizations more future facing…”

Pistrui and Dimov make a moving summary statement, worth quoting in its entirety:

“We want managers to become truly human again: to be people who love to learn and love to teach, who liberate and innovate, who include others in the process of thinking imaginatively, and who challenge everyone around them to create a better business and a better world. This will ensure that organizations do more than simply update old ways of doing things with new technology, and find ways to do entirely new things going forward.”

Do you agree?

May your learning be sweet.


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