How can the nextleader use his team to take the pressure off himself?
Digitization is bringing about a number of changes in the day-to-day work of executives and enabling virtual collaboration across time and place boundaries. As a result, project and team work are becoming increasingly important, making it all the more important for the nextleader to get to grips with his or her team, as traditional hierarchical structures are increasingly dissolving.
At the same time, the nextleader is faced with many other requirements and expectations that he or she should fulfill. For example, the ideal leader should ideally be a mediator, change agent, coach, and more all at the same time, without forgetting the results and concerns of the employees. In short, you can’t shake the feeling that a manager is supposed to be the famous “rush-man”.
Of course, it is up to the nextleader himself to what extent he tries to meet these expectations, but we believe that this is exactly what is becoming more and more difficult and that leadership tasks can be solved through a dynamic and interactive influencing process, precisely in the group. This means that the nextleader makes use of his employees, who want to take on more responsibility anyway against the backdrop of changing values and individualization, and also transfers parts of his leadership responsibility to them.
Of course, it is clear that not all topics are suitable for the team solution process. Some classic management tasks, such as conducting employee appraisals, remain the responsibility of the manager. However, many decision-making, solution-finding or idea-finding processes can be designed as a team. Within the group, individual team members can assume the leadership, facilitator, or coordinator roles classically attributed to the leader. However, for these processes to work, some basic requirements should be observed:
- Communication at eye level within the team
- Appreciation for the differences of all team members in order to be able to form a basis of trust.
- A certain minimum level of expertise within the team to be able to solve the tasks. In fact, it is often the case that employees have more expertise than the manager himself.
In addition, there are some aspects that the nextleader should ensure:
- Definition of framework conditions, so that by cooperative target agreements are made. The solution is then worked out by the employees themselves.
- Assigning the necessary responsibility and authority to employees to implement the developed solution path.
- Transparent communication so that all relevant (company) information is available to the team.
The nextleader should therefore provide the conditions for successful teamwork and then rely to some extent on the results of his team, so that he does not have to combine all the roles himself. While this may be very difficult for some managers, studies show that sharing leadership responsibilities is associated with increased effectiveness and leads to more proactive employee behavior (Cf. Piecha and Wegge in Trends in Psychological Leadership Research).
In the end, it is the decision of the nextleader to what extent he or she trusts the team with the tasks or not. He can try to be the jack of all trades himself or give his team the chance to help shape the management process.
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