What is expected of a manager in virtually any organization has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. Managers used to be promoted for their technical skills and/or understanding of their product. Now, however, the changing nature of the workplace demands that managers actually be leaders.
Andrew Reimer, principal trainer at High Performance, explains why.
“Attracting and retaining talented staff is critical. Many tasks which were routine in the past have been consolidated, mechanised or computerised. Hypercompetition in the marketplace and a focus on customer service have made a skilled and enthusiastic workforce imperative. Managers today must respond to the demands of bright employees who seek challenging, meaningful work. These ‘new’ employees are less trusting of organizational structure, less willing than past generations to subordinate their interest to those of the business and less accepting of old hierarchies.’
“In particular, young people applying for roles today are not looking for a `career’ but a `stepping stone’ in their life’s path. These new recruits are looking for organisations where they can learn and then move on to their next opportunity. Even valuable mature workers, or people re-entering the workforce, will seek out a workplace in which they see a personal future.’
“This is where leadership comes in. Leaders have expertise in communication and talent development. Leaders know that that it is not as much about a new type of employee as it is about tailoring the work to diverse needs and interests. Leaders challenge their workers to think and grow, because they know the best and brightest will leave otherwise.’
“A manager must to be a leader because organisations today rely increasingly on the competence and enthusiasm of motivated employees. Talented staff are attracted to organisations where their managers share their knowledge and experience in an open and thriving environment.’
“Fortunately, leaders CAN be made. Leadership skills can be learned. These skills need to be viewed as essential management tools; without them, an organisation will be left behind.”