In 2022, the management upskill begins with building new professional networks.
What do managers need? All the studies mention a solid managerial approach will be the cornerstone of the Future of Work.
For this reason, managers must learn how to be great communicators and coaches to develop their team members through supportive and consultative behaviors before challenging them.
This is the only way to build upon the Maslow Pyramid to reach the ultimate levels: the collective sense of belonging, and the esteem and self-actualization needs. Without individual accomplishment and satisfaction, we can’t have a positive, high-performing culture.
Indeed, our trusty leader should know how to foster a positive climate across teams for psychological safety by building healthy relationships and demonstrating fairness to all team members.
In the current context, the rise of virtual and agile matrix organizations increasingly pushes leaders to work across teams and focus their work around projects or functions for better results.
It means evolving beyond silos, building trust more broadly within extended professional networks, and building performance and cooperation in their teams.
Leaders can continuously operate this vast transformation by leading with purpose and promoting new values and processes. And the first step is to teach managers how to navigate and build their network through complex environments.
The hard work of changing company culture in the hybrid world
When leaders believe in innovation to make the change happen, it’s called transformational leadership. They work on inspirational motivation while challenging their people with trust and respect. Many organizations went through this process successfully during the pandemic.
Changing a culture to adapt to the virtual world is about giving a new meaning to the effort that transcends everyday problems.
It can be addressing a new market segment with new customers, launching a new product, or simply serving customers better as an underlying purpose.
Interestingly, the big workplace shift has underscored this quest for finding a new meaning in work, with a majority of people redefining professional success through work-life balance, mental health, and flexibility – the top three new priorities for most of us.
Then comes the implementation with new values, processes, or tools. In the workplace, the intention is embodied in the core values defined by companies.
These values translate — at the individual level — into soft skills or behaviors — to ensure that people behave every day in alignment with the company’s culture.
As with individuals, you can change over time by creating a new identity (culture for companies) that requires new habits carried out daily with consistency by role models or key people leading by example toward the new purpose.
How to get started with my team to promote healthy mental behaviors and individual accountability?
An example of best practice within the team is formalizing the values and expected behaviors in a team contract.
For example, showing respect or giving the benefit of the doubt are compelling values in the virtual world to create a shared feeling of safety within the team.
It helps shut down and reprogram the “catastrophizing” cognitive bias that causes our brains to imagine the worst-case scenario, especially when limited communication or data is missing.
It might be counterintuitive, but thinking about the worst doesn’t prepare you at all. Instead, it makes us continually feel bad as our unconscious mind doesn’t see the difference between reality and fiction.
In other words, since our brain processes an imagined experience in much the same way we process reality, we’d better think positively.
There’s a difference between preparing all the scenarios to face our fears and being stuck only imagining what could go wrong.
For example, let’s suppose I anticipate how to handle a problematic team meeting with a positive resolution. In this case, I’m more likely to find the mental resources in the moment to overcome the challenges.
Likewise, If I visualize respectful behavior towards my team members, I can tap into it under pressure.
The big workplace transformation is a unique opportunity to find new meaning at work and redefine a more inspiring purpose. But we also need to reprogram ourselves for better individual growth and contributions that foster greater team cooperation.
And its starts by reflecting on simple questions to improve our mental health and well-being:
How can I practice the benefit of the doubt daily? Or, how could I be better at showing respect to all my team members?