“I don’t care whether you come into the office at 10am. I don’t care if you choose to work from home or not. I don’t care if you work from the garage while they fix your car.
We hired you to do a job, and I trust you to get it done. Just let me know what you need from me to be successful in your role and I will show up for you.
You don’t need to justify to me why you need a day off. You don’t need to explain how sick your child is to leave early. You don’t need to apologise for having a personal life.
Yes, I care about results, but I also care about you. We are all human and we are all adults. I lead people. I don’t run an adult day care centre.” – Brigette Hyacinth.
Would you like to have a boss who thinks and operates that way? Are you such a boss?
To be a 21st century manager, we need to use a people-first approach to the way we work and the way we manage. Using a people-first approach to design work (where, when, how), employees will be more engaged. Engaged employees are more innovative, they focus more on business value than output, and they stay at their organisation longer. They are also healthier.
Let’s dive in a little deeper and start with the way we manage. When you have a people first mindset, then it’s not about how you want to run the company, how you want to manage your employees, it is about what would be the best for your employees. That is also what management means. Management is no longer about telling the employees what to do and monitoring their progress like a hawk. It is about creating and managing the system that allows workers to do their best job. The “system” includes governance, policies, the KPIs, and the way you develop people. It takes unlearning and relearning. It takes intentionality.
You may wonder why I start with the way we manage first. You may think, in order to be more innovative, we need a new way of working. Unfortunately, the key is not a new way of working, but a new way of managing. You need to first change the governance, the policies, the KPIs, and the way you develop people. Then the culture and work will change. When I say culture, I mean beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. When I say work, I mean procedures, rituals, roles, models, and structure. Trying to change the culture and work directly is futile until you change the ways of managing first. We need to change the way we manage work, in order to change the system of work, which will transform the way we work, which then entrenches itself in our culture.
Don’t forget, the heart of our business and workplace, the way we manage and the way we work, are our employees. So, we need to design and manage our work around human behaviours and human factors. Remember, “Release the potential of your staff and they will release the potential of the business”.