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Agility: The number 1 trait of Future Leaders

Posted By APSO, 10 November 2014

Agility: The number 1 trait of Future Leaders


Over the past decade or even just the last five years, managers have worked in an almost constant state of change. We have witnessed the continued march of globalisation and rapid pace of technological development. Virtual teams made up of globally dispersed members now communicate in real time via multiple channels, sharing data, information and ideas via the cloud. Major social and demographic changes have been taking place with the Baby Boomers starting to relinquish power to the Millennials, the oldest of which are now in their 30s. As we progress through 2014, we hope to fully emerge from the shadows of the 2008 financial crisis but there is still a degree of economic uncertainty ahead.


 

 

 


Through their online community members and a survey of more than 1000 managers, ILM concludes that the 2020 Manager will need to be agile and adaptive but also that the fundamentals of good leadership and management will matter more than ever. It should be noted that should be noted that flexible working, identified as one of the key trends, has a correlation with some of the other trends highlighted. It is a driver for increasing importance placed on relationship-building and one of the reasons why managers will face more complex challenges over the coming years when it comes to performing core management functions.


Flexible Workforce gather momentum

Unsurprisingly, the growing trend is driven by improvements in IT and data transfer speeds. It isn’t only about technology though. Organisations are increasingly recognising the benefits of working more flexibly for the benefit of consumers and their staff. Flexible working provides an additional and highly effective incentive to attract and retain talented employees. It will be expected by the Millennials who are becoming an increasing part of the workforce although flexible working is popular with older workers too. By giving individuals greater control over their working day, they also feel more empowered and this can lead to increased engagement and productivity levels. When implemented correctly, flexible working can also reduce office overheads.


Better Together

The research revealed that working relationships are increasingly important both within teams and with external stakeholders. More than half of managers surveyed recognised this as a future trend and the same percentage though that working relationships were now more important than five years ago. The results underlines that the ability to form and manage working relationships will be central when it comes to leading and managing people in the future. The business of managing such relationships is far more complex that it was: it involves far more than holding a weekly meeting or addressing a room full of people but also projecting a presence via multiple channels as well as being an expert listener. This is as much about emotional intelligence and trust as it is about technical proficiency.


Core Competency required

The core functions of good leadership and management will be more important but harder to achieve. Overall, more than half of managers agreed that skills such as communication, delegating, goal-setting and motivating direct reports were more important but 46% agreed that tasks related to these skills were harder to achieve. Flexible working will continue to impact traditional working patterns and structures. Work is something that can be done anywhere, any time with traditional 9 – 5 parameters being eroded. For many managers there is no clearly defined “end of the day”. Less time due to competition from other priorities, and the growing complexity of structures, processes and systems were cited as reasons why basic management tasks are proving more difficult to perform. The top three areas for development highlighted by respondents include clear communication, effective planning and problem-solving.


Employability vs. Stable Employment

 

The traditional legal and psychological contracts that long existed between employers and employees are changing rapidly. Few buy into this concept of a job for life any more. While this is unpleasant for some, for others it provides opportunity for career progression and to adjust their work/life balance to best suit their personal circumstances.

 

More measured approaches

 

The majority of managers agree that the means of measuring and rewarding performance has changed over the past five years. Increasingly sophisticated performance indicators are possible and there has been growing interest in big data, which some expect to revolutionise a number of areas, including performance management.

 

Know...Do...Be = Future Leader Success

To succeed in the future, managers must be more agile, responsive and able to adapt to the needs of a radically different workplace. They must also continue to contend with further technological and cultural changes that will impact how organisations operate. At the same time, managers must ensure the core management and leadership practices are successfully carried out.


Know

And understand the core functions of leadership and management from planning to vital people skills such as motivation, effective communication and driving engagement. Crucially, the key to being a successful manager will be, knowing how to apply these skills within the change workplace.


Do

With the increase of flexible working, managers must trust their reports and avoid micro-management. Some may struggle if they cannot adjust their style and techniques and learn to measure performance on outcomes rather than hours worked.


Be

Agile and adaptive but also reliable and solid managers. They should be comfortable themselves working flexibly and leading virtual and flexible teams. They should be emotionally intelligent as the qualities that embody this will be required in all aspects of management whether it be engaging and motivating teams or building successful working relationships and partnerships.

 

Extracts from: ILM Research Report “2020 Vision: Future Trends in Leadership & Management”. The full report is available www.i-l-m.com The Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) is the UK’s largest management development organisation. They are passionate about good leadership and management, and its power to drive organisational performance and wider economic prosperity.

Tags:  Agility  core competency  employability  engagement  future leaders  measurement approaches  stable employment 

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