If you are, like me, relatively new to the corporate world, you might have noticed some differences from what you always thought you knew about it. You might have noticed that people are behaving quite differently from what you used to have heard from others or what you’ve seen in the movies. The truth is that the corporate world is always evolving and so do the practices of the leaders. From what I can tell, it is only for the better. Here are couple of things that I have experienced myself.
Uplift others, don’t boss around
Despite still surviving in some more conservative firms, the traditional model of a boss just sitting in his office, barking orders and putting someone down for not doing their job is outdated now. The boss of the future doesn’t act bossy, this person helps the team they are responsible for to grow, improve their performance in a way a coach would. This means not to only improve the strong sides of the members, but to also work with the weaknesses. This brings all the people involved closer together and creates better work communication, not to speak of improved morale a lesser turnover.
We are humans, not machines
Related to the previous point, it is better to not treat employees as an asset that can be replaced, consider them more a family than anything else. This is, in my opinion, still a big problem today. Many companies would rather have a high turn-over on some positions rather than actually thinking of how to make it better for people to work there. It could be anywhere from 1st level phone support to a senior manager, the positions demanding too much of its worker can easily lead to a burn out and create stress which damages people’s health, above all.
Modern leaders start to realize that and approach employees as people with needs, problems and feelings. They work with this fact and in turn, if the employees feel they are treated like people, they are more likely to fight for the well-being of the whole company and its values.
Involvement a.k.a. we are all in this together
Just like raising a child, when you want someone to do something, it’s important to explain why. You can’t just say, “Do this!” or “Don’t do this!” and expect people to obey wholeheartedly. You will just become a nuisance, a pusher, an obnoxious authoritative figure that people don’t like and will not just frown upon but will outright try to avoid. New approach proved that being open and involved with employees works much better, that people work with more passion if they understand why they do it and how things are going in the company they work for. Unforeseen consequences, accidents, human errors and seemingly senseless directives are all more acceptable when explained properly and respectfully to the people you share your work time with. If you are all aboard one ship, why hide it? If something didn’t go as planned and is being resolved, it would be much easier to be open about it so that people could get involved and eagerly search the solution.
Furthermore, it’s a better way than letting rumors spread and create instability in the team. If everybody needs to work as one, benefits of equal involvement will bring them closer together.
Confidence, or a lack thereof can make or break a team’s relationships. Even I had witnessed that things were promised which weren’t kept. It really breaks trust in leadership when face to face you are agreed with, your superior seems very eager to help only to see them doing nothing afterwards. This really connects to the previous topic because if we are being open, we get an explanation of why this can’t be done yet instead of nodding to everything just to make the other person go away. Of course, this runs both ways and if we, as employees have some problem doing what we’re asked, we better say it.
Just like not coming to an appointed meeting, breaking confidence can also break the employee’s trust in the company’s vision, which will most likely make them fulfill the vision elsewhere.
More and more companies are now oriented towards work performance rather than how the work is being carried out. Home office, days-off, flexible working hours, or even having less working hours altogether – all these things are fine as long as we do the job we are asked for. It allows us to easily tend to our sick children, make it to the doctor’s appointment or make some private meeting when necessary. This helps greatly to stop feeling as if being shackled by the dreaded 9-5 routine.
Of course, freedom doesn’t mean we can do anything we want and it takes a decent amount of responsibility to use this freedom well and not mistake it for opportunities to slack off. It is still imperative to be able to manage our work properly and uphold the responsibilities we have towards the company. In most companies, liberties are being placed upon an employee gradually to make sure they can handle them without compromising their works.
Especially when working on a low-level positions, people can feel like they just do the machine work, day to day, it gets boring quickly and they feel like they are wasting their precious time here on Earth. They then quit their corporate jobs and become digital nomad bloggers, for example. And rightfully so, who wouldn’t want to travel around the world, enjoy sights while drinking mojito? Unfortunately, not everybody can make a living of it so the modern leaders took on a different approach to break these routines and keep the employees’ lives colorful and creative.
Having meetings and one-on-ones in different places, even outside is one of those things that I have witnessed. Having pizza days, free lunch, costume days, birthday celebrations, meditations, yoga and other surprise events break stereotypes very successfully and make even the most mundane work more bearable.
Praise and involvement
When I did my certification for project management I noticed that one of the final steps for completing the project was to celebrate the completion and reward the people involved. While it is a good thing, it struck me that it was written in the study materials. Isn’t this something that people decide to do by themselves? Why was that an integral part of the directives?
You have most likely seen or heard it before: Why should I thank you when you got paid? Ok, in theory, if we were machines, the equation would work and all would be good. However, sometimes carrying a project out can demand more than just a regular involvement. There will be malfunctions, accidents, nuisances, tension and stress. Most of the time, we will have to give more than what is expected of us. If a worker is working passionately, they are already putting in more effort than a machine. This is the added value that needs to be rewarded. Not to say that it feels good when you hear someone say thank you, or even better, if they throw a party when the customers are happy with your product and feel like you have done more than you had to.
So every time we finished making a film, a film festival or managed to implement new thing into the work process, we celebrated it. And as well, when working at a company, it felt good to get a good job email from the boss after getting through a tough period. Even one person’s effort can be recognized such as, for example, the time when I invented a new process of receiving critical incidents faster and I was mentioned in a company-wide email after it was implemented.
Modern leaders do a great job by taking on more responsibilities towards their teams. Not only do they do the job they are supposed to, they also take time for the well-being of others. I was also guilty of a prejudice towards superiors after some bad experiences in the past but recently I have turned my opinion around completely. It is not easy to sometimes let go of our preconceived ideas but being more open, curious, forthcoming and supporting is something that can take us a long way, in not just our professional lives.