Management has always existed in companies. There are many names, functions and expectations differ depending on the company, but there is always a person who takes responsibility for a team. It is generally a person who has the experience, the capacity to lead and / or the charisma allowing him to carry out the projects successfully. Working methods and internal organizations have been disrupted since the health crisis – management too. How did the managers adapt? Has 2020 prompted them to review their operation?
A manager, a not so simple definition?
This question has multiple answers and they differ depending on each team, each company and each project. We can all the same identify “universal” managerial skills.
To lead, the manager is there to move projects forward and ensure that annual objectives are met. To support employees in their skills development based on the meaning that each gives to their work. To organize working days for the sake of efficiency, success and optimization of time. To animate the teams by proposing solutions, by setting up challenges or by reassuring when necessary. To verify the work because trust does not exclude control. When we control with kindness the results are generally there. And finally to delegate and empower teams by giving them new missions.
Manager is not easy and you only realize it when you yourself become responsible for a team. It’s about setting rules, following them scrupulously, communicating and continuously adapting. The confinements redistributed the cards and the managers were strongly challenged, but how did they adapt?
Put on the front of the stage from the first confinement, managers had to quickly reinvent their way of working. Isolation, compulsory teleworking, worry: they had the heavy task of federating, reassuring and continuing to support their teams. This express reorganization allowed continuity in the change. They therefore had to: listen attentively, be present on a human and professional level (while keeping the necessary distances), ensure compliance with health rules when face-to-face was possible, be sure that the work-life balance is well honored, ensure that projects can move forward, allow more autonomy, achieve objectives and finally be accountable to the hierarchy.
Adaptation and communication take on all the more meaning at this point. Exemplarity is essential. Professionalism, benevolence, flexibility and management of priorities are their key words. Their role in the company was all the more strategic as they cemented the links between the teams and the management. Did all of this accelerate the managerial transformation that had already been happening for a few years?
Towards an evolution of management?
Is “conventional” management obsolete? Would it be a brake on innovation? We often differentiate the “boss” from the “leader”. The “boss” gives the orders while the “leader” accompanies his teams by setting an example. Over time, pyramid management has given way to participatory management. Employees have learned to take responsibility by working with more autonomy and flexibility. The covid crisis has only accentuated the need for many employees to find meaning in what they undertake. Also, the notion of “well-being at work” is now an integral part of our professional vocabulary. When we feel useful, we all the more want to do and therefore be productive. To do this, it is crucial to communicate and detail the ins and outs of projects. The manager must find the perfect balance between proximity and distance, between benevolence and firmness, between performance and humanity. Teleworking has only reinforced and confirmed the growing need to put people at the center of everything. Managing a team is not easy and there will always be team leaders. It is up to them to evolve with the times and adapt to societal changes. It is up to them to constantly rethink the future and support employees at every stage. All technologies will never replace the human link and it is here that the manager’s role takes on its full meaning.
The role of the manager remains central within companies. Remember to put ourselves in their shoes from time to time. They have no choice but to be demanding and to enforce the rules for more efficiency. Their functions require them to continually question themselves for the well-being of the teams and the achievement of objectives. They grow and evolve in our presence. The Covid crisis challenged them a lot. The acceleration of digitization greatly facilitates communication and speed of action but will never come before human contact. They must now learn to juggle between remote management, face-to-face management but also pay more and more attention to the development of each employee so that they can develop individually while being productive.