Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Evolving Management Game

Let's face it, management hasn't changed a lot in modern time. How we managed has evolved as we have become better educated and more wealthy. I use the term wealthy in its broadest sense. People with means to lift themselves above poverty have time and energy to invest in making life even more comfortable - so we have an evolution, not a revolution - whereby management has evolved in line with changes in social expectations and behaviours.

The actions of managers have remained the same though. Managers continue to be responsible for financial management, organising work, providing feedback, making decisions and preparing reports. It's not what they do that has changed; it's how they go about doing these things that has evolved.

Take for example; the evolution from telling to asking. In a previous generation managers issued instructions and waited with full expectation that those instructions would be followed to the letter. Those that didn't appreciate taking instructions were encouraged to find employment elsewhere. Today that same manager, were they still employed, would be more likely to ask questions, to engage people and to seek input into the decision making process. The manager may even coach an employee through the process of determining what action to take next. Yet at the end of the day one thing has not changed. The manager remains responsible for ensuing the outcome is achieved.

Will that evolution continue or have we reached the pinnacle of management competence? I believe the trend will continue. I believe up and coming generations of people entering our hospitals and aged care facilities will demand to be consulted with and engaged in the process. I believe a new generation of emerging leaders will be even more inclined to manage by inclusion than their predecessors. Such a process is not a panacea for success; it is a process fraught with risk. It is a process that demands people in management have well developed leadership skills, often at a very young age, that they have developed continuously throughout the early stages of their life.

At the same time I believe those in the workplace will demand more of our future leaders. Leaders will be held more accountable by both peers and direct reports. Leadership in our organisations will require considerable patience and tolerance of well balanced people who have their feet firmly planted on the ground. For these people management will not be a theory; it will be grounded in action research, their own experiences combined with the experiences of mentors and those in their work groups. The relationships they form will determine their success or otherwise.

That much hasn't changed. Relationship building has been a part of management for ever; what will change I believe is that in the past many relationships were viewed for the power they delivered to someone. Future relationships will be viewed for the strength they provide to a team or a work group.

Let The Journey Continue
John Coxon
Taking You From Frontline Manager to CEO


Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Great post - I enjoyed reading it. "Future relationships will be viewed for the strength they provide to a team or a work group." Very interesting.

JC said...

Thank you for your input and for taking time to read the blog. I believe what is needed for the future is greater collaboration, both internally and externally. An understanding that collective wisdom will alway provide the solution that is best for the most people
John Coxon

porta said...


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