5 Ways Managers and Executives Can Collaborate in Times of Change
Management styles are undergoing a total overhaul as the “tell, sell, and make-it-so” approach gives way to co-creating solutions horizontally across and vertically up levels of authority. The impetus for this change is high levels of employee disengagement. This crisis of disengagement is the opening you need to convert your workplace into a better climate for decision-making and creative innovation.
Although many may focus on the question, “Who takes the lead — managers or executives?” a better question is, “What if managers and executives worked together to transform a business’s capacity for innovation?”
Such a collaboration means these kinds of interactions, behaviors, and approaches:
Conversations engage top-level executives, middle management, and frontline workers to identify opportunities to do things differently. Rather than relying on authority to dictate direction, solutions would emerge out of the necessary conversations. Rather than those in the executive level having all the answers, all levels share responsibility and accountability for coming up with innovative solutions.
Instead of managing as if the business environment is predictable, you accept that it isn’t. Facilitating persistent learning and innovation gives your company and its employees a distinct advantage because you rely on your collective creativity rather than try to control circumstances. And yes, relying on creativity means you’ll need to become more comfortable with not knowing the answer to everything. Creativity is a process that takes advantage of uncertainty.
Information is shared and openly transparent across the entire organization to so that decisions are based on accurate information rather than assumptions. Having conversations aimed at learning how the operational perspective supports strategic thinking is one way to dismantle barriers to transformation. Developing conversational intelligence, the capacity to be aware of how your conversations internally build or break trust, is essential.
When creating solutions for the future, you set conventional thinking aside and agree to work with unexpected consequences to make further adjustments. If expectations are based on the past, creative and innovative approaches are likely to fail to meet those expectations. Agreeing to work collaboratively, leaving the ego at the door to focus on creating the future, can help you overcome unexpected surprises.
Managers are leaders because the work environment rewards leadership. When the staff has to face fear of retribution or punitive action, it oppresses leadership. Rather than senior management negatively reacting to unexpected surprises, senior, middle, and frontline management agree to use errors and surprises to pave the way to collective leadership.
Employee disengagement is powering a workplace revolution that asks all levels of management to see where control can give way to trust. It represents a shift from working in isolation to closing the gaps between top, middle, and bottom levels in a hierarchically structured company. Although not easy, this change is necessary if you want to foster higher levels of leadership in each person. After all, no single level of authority can come up with the creative and innovate solutions required to transform the business culture.
The benefits of engaging in this revolution in your workplace? You access more talent and use the resources you have to far greater advantage. Achieving employee and customer engagement, retention, and loyalty, or increasing profitability requires that all levels work together.