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How to Manage the Modern Manager Role in a People Centric Organization

By Bob Larcher & John Thompson, People Centric Organizations

There have recently been a lot of questions about the need for managers today. It’s true that with the development of tools such as Slack, Trello and online visual reporting systems a lot of the traditional work carried out by managers can now be executed by the team itself.

So, what might managers do today as they let go of things the team can start to take on themselves?

Maybe the answer is less in terms of the “what” and “how” of the team and more in terms of the “why” and “where” of the team.

A recent HBR article, “Managers Can’t Do It All” identified three fundamental shifts in the role of “modern” managers.

A power shift, where managers have to think about making teams successful, rather than being served by them. A skills shift, where managers move to coaching performance rather than overseeing tasks. A structural shift, where managers have to lead in more fluid environments.

The power shift would, for example, lead to managers looking for opportunities for the team to more support the organisational purpose rather than simply controlling the movements of people within the team. This results in a lightening of a manager’s burdens and allowing her/his creativity to be applied to the business. Read this as ‘a more fulfilling role’.

The skills shift would, for example, lead managers to provide inspiration and meaning rather than simply providing work direction and cascading information.

The structural shift could lead to less goal setting and annual assessments and more guidance on priorities and performance feedback.

Clearly, these shifts will need a change in mindset. Some managers will be undoubtedly open to this kind of transformation and be at the forefront of showing the way forward, others will be more recalcitrant and will probably drag their feet. Others will be willing but concerned and probably need support.

In all cases, external facilitation plays a critical role in the successful transition from “command and control” to “inspire and empower”. While talk of mindset shifts in the past would take typically years, with embedded leadership development facilitators it can begin to show up in weeks.

If you would like to know more about how we, at PCO, can help you and your managers to make the shifts needed to keep your organisation successful do not hesitate to contact us at:

You can also follow us on the PCO LinkedIn page to get notified of updates as they are published.

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