Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Roles for Managers

Focus: These roles probably aren't in your job description!

Audio: 4 mins. 14 secs.
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New Roles for Managers
Wc: 495 
Transcript - print now
As the challenges of the 21st century workplace are changing, so is the role that a manager plays. In order for a manager to be competent and effective in today’s workplace a greater knowledge and understanding of an enhanced definition of manager is required.

Here are three functions that a few years ago, a traditional manager would not have had to be concerned with.

Function 1: A Coach and Developer
For all intense and purposes the traditional type of leadership has changed. (Though in my travels I am surprised discovered that in many companies this style exists; but to their detriment.) In the 40’s & 50’s the most common form of leadership was command and control. I define it as, “I think, I tell you, you do.”

Due to the dramatic change in workplace make up – more women in management, newer generations, and the arrival of the dot com era, that leadership style proved to be ineffective in meeting those specific needs.

What has proven more successful if a style of leadership – management role of coach? The coaching style of management comprises as element not found in command and control and that is development.   When a manager is developing an employee they are helping that person grow in their capabilities to enlarge their capacity to contribute to the organization. This is quite beneficial in the long run, as the company’s return on investment for every salary dollar spent increases.

Function 2: Career Advisor
These days, with job descriptions and performance needs ever evolving managers with hiring authority have got to be able to hire the team members that are the best fit. And the definition of best fit goes way beyond can they just barely do the job. But additionally, how well will they work with the team, can they be flexible and adapt as new demands surface or does the job type match their personality. It takes an informed manager to be able to make those decisions in collaboration with their Human Resource department.

Function 3: Teacher
This is perhaps the most unique of the three. Here’s a shocking statistic – the average American reads at about a six grade level.  No matter what strata, however, when we hire we make assumptions about capabilities. In reality, every person who walks through our corporate doors on some level needs to continue to learn, as does the manager. So continually educating our team members on a variety of professional needs serves them, you, and the company. In the long run, this could eliminate or at least greatly reduce many headaches. The mantra – “keep educating”. 

One manager I met in my travels has a book of the month club for his team. They collectively choose topics that will improve the performance of the entire group. What a great idea!

I suspect that these three functions may not appear on many job descriptions, yet they are critical to the success of managers in the 21st century.

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