It is time to challenge the traditional views of the work of a management team. Living, sensing, and learning organisations of the future require vibrant and interactive leadership. Each group that is alert is the management team.
The story of one management team over the years:
The members of the company’s management team regularly met face-to-face in different units from different parts of Finland. The meetings lasted three hours, but usually the team spent all day at the office with the idea that management would be visible and available for spontaneous discussions. This was a good idea on paper. In reality, however, the team ended up meeting in haste behind closed doors, and the personnel did not get natural opportunities to discuss with the members of the management team. The management team then became aware of their nickname, a “glamour team”.
MANAGEMENT WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE COMMUNITY
I often ask the customer whether they are a collection of managers of competing business areas, or a unified management team where the members appreciate each other and have realised their interdependence.
In these complex times, the former is not enough. Many management teams have already realised this. Even though the management teams might consider themselves clever and pioneers, many of them have not truly entered into this new era of leadership, let alone modified their operations accordingly.
The members of the management team must enter in emotional relationships with each other – and continue the same at the level of the entire organisation, customers, partnership networks, and society as a whole. It must be understood by now that the management team’s task is to use collective wisdom, ask major questions, and feel the changes in the business environment in their hearts.
Organisations are changing from stiff hierarchies into living, sensing, and learning organisms. This change is also linked to the development of the essence of management teams.
A LEARNING GROUP OF MANAGERS
A management team at its best is a learning group of managers who take evolutionary steps or quantum leaps on the learning path. In my customer work, I have identified four steps in the evolution of management teams, the first of which is a group of managers, the second is a management team, the third is a relationship network of joint leadership, and the fourth is a knowledgeable energy field.
These evolutionary steps or quantum leaps are unique for different management teams and organisations. What they seem to have in common is the shift of focus from individual managers to the relationship network of the management team – to the potential hiding inside the entire community.
Of course, a part of the community’s potential lies in the area of personal growth. Without neglecting the importance of acquiring new knowledge, it seems that we now need mental growth, jumping head first into the game with our hearts wide open, the ability to just be, and have patience, new creative listening, and fierce questioning. We need to control our egos to leave room for realising and giving rise to the power of the community.
THE POWER OF CHALLENGING INTERACTION
Creating a vibrant connection and enabling smooth cooperation in remote work and in the haste of our everyday lives are challenges for every management team.
Management teams need to wake up, but that is not enough. The management team must get the entire organisation to participate in constant, creative interaction. This is not possible by being sure and clear. Management teams need to embrace incompleteness and uncertainty, continuously ask big questions, and tackle devious problems. A management team that brings up the complexity of the operating environment receives the full support from its employees, customers, and partners.
Once, work required muscles and physical strength. Then, we needed brains and the power of thinking. Now it is time for the heart. Feelings and innovative listening to each other is a powerful medicine to treat the complexity of the modern era. In order to meet the challenges ahead, we may require more gut feeling, intuition, and a deeper understanding of our interdependence. We need to boldly dig out our deepest resources and accept all the help we can get from our collective awareness.
The time of COVID-19 spices up things even more: We need to create the feeling of connection while working remotely. We already know how to effectively communicate information and facts digitally. Now we just need to get people’s hearts to synchronise and steer energies in a constructive direction. Cameras on and hearts open, both in management teams and in the organisation’s virtual encounters.
Back to the “glamour team’s” story:
The management team woke up. Its members did not want to be distant to each other or the organisation, not to mention the customers and networks. Instead of long journeys and face-to-face meetings behind closed doors, the team started to apply a hybrid model to cooperation:
- Face-to-face meetings accomplish something that cannot be done virtually.
- A virtual approach is used instead of long meetings by holding several quick meetings according to everyone’s daily schedules. In every other meeting, the general situation is reviewed more freely, while the agenda is followed in the remaining meetings.
- Virtual doors are opened for a company’s own employees. Each member of the management team is available in the open virtual conference room in turn.
- Virtual doors are also opened for customers and networks: this is the next step on the way to making the entire community glamorous.
Each group that is alert is the management team. Everyone who has woken up is a leader. Every bold question is the solution.