You’re stronger than you think.
Over the last twenty years or so we have steadily reduced the number of managers (as a percent of the workforce) across the globe. At the macro level this is good driving out redundancies and inefficiencies although if you personally were right-sized or re-assigned it probably didn’t feel too well at the micro level.
Either way, we’ve all gotten used to a work dynamic which includes fewer and fewer “managers.” If you have less than ten years of work under your belt this all seems quite normal to you but there was a time Virginia when a lot of these little heads ran around bumping into each other calling meetings, setting goals and more or less gumming up the works.
Evolution is the great clarifier however.
Now if you happen to be one of the remaining managers, team leaders, chiefs, supervisors or whatever other term your firm uses to identify you it’s understandable that you might be a little gunshy, worn out or jaded. After all, we’ve been purging your lot for some time.
But those days are over.
Economies around the world are recovering and starting again both to produce and consume at ever higher levels. Maybe your country is a little ahead of the curve or behind but you’re riding the wave wether you know it or not. All markets – stocks, housing, employment – move in waves back and forth over a continuum. The employment market is returning to vigor and absent cataclysmic interference will be robust for most if not all of the next decade.
How do I know? A half billion middle class consumers – using conservative estimates – will be created in China in the next five years. 500 million new purchasers of good and services will have collateral impact on your business whether you serve this market or not.
Which brings us back to the lowly manager: you are lowly no more.
Firms have rediscovered the value of line leadership, the ability of people on the floor to make things happen. The new evolution, RIF 2.0 if you will, is focused on right sizing the executive suite. How many junior Vice Presidents does your firms actually need after all? The pruning shears have moved up the ladder while the feet on the street are making a difference.
As a result of this we need to re-examine and re-think the manager’s role. There is a great deal of power and influence in the day to day interaction with teams and talent that the manager wields. And here’s the rub: that power and influence is prevalent wether your realize it or not. Said another way, you cannot not influence your teams.
Blue collar or white, service or science, in place or virtual our teams need you. And enterprises around the globe are waking up to the reality that good management is good business.
So dear manager: we need you.
Please take your craft seriously and study what it takes to lead and manage seeking input and advice along the way. Yes there are fewer of you which is precisely why what you do matter so much more. Take the time to learn the art and science of management. Our economic growth depends in large part on how well you execute the duality of management.
You have the power.