| Jen Reilley
Often the management of businesses and groups are based on a set of standards that evolve very slowly to cope with the ever-changing cultures, wants, ways of expression, technology and charisma of a race that is undergoing a relentless process of diversity.
The evolution from management to leadership triggers marginalized members to become team players to actively participate and be part of the company’s synergy. True leadership sees meaning and significance to their “authentic” efforts to contribute and therefore blend in. The obsolete concepts of management, on the other hand, are based on standards set by the principles or policies – standards that overly focus on stability rather than on the need to change and grow.
Leaders welcome change and so they do not adhere to rules, conditionings and policies. Leaders break away from rules and think outside the box, finding ways to improve systems and processes. Leaders have vision and direction. Managers have orders, rules, and a blueprint to follow. Leaders create pathways because they believe that there is something better than the usual, existing, and sometimes obsolete. Leaders think that disruptions are necessary for changes to happen for the better. Encouraging creative conflicts through diverse demographics, thoughts and opinions. Creative frictions within the group results in better and more informed decision-making and innovative thinking. Unlike management, leadership is not about position or hierarchy. A leader believes that the team player has much to contribute and so he encourages communication and the contribution of ideas. Thus, a leader creates able leaders and team players. Management depends more on the existing blueprint and hierarchy, following the system or process in place. Sometime this curtails the growth of subordinates and impedes the flow of new ideas from the ground up in an organization. In leadership context, the pattern is more circular than hierarchical, which means all ideas and concepts flow in circular motion to get all the inputs regardless of rank or position.
Can Managers become leaders and vice versa? Yes, they both can, because leadership can be harnessed and learned with an open mind and vision. A manager knows how to lead, understands both his juniors as well as his seniors, balances the existing blueprint of the organization and injects new ideas and concepts. As we harness the qualities of leadership into management we are enabling managers to uphold the vision and mission of the company as well as nurture the growth and development of employees.
Flexible working hours and at any location is the common concept of agile working. But this is just a two-dimensional description of the innovative working concept. In today’s technology and innovation-infused working environment, work can’t be defined at a two-dimensional level but rather at multi-dimensional levels - not limited to doing the same task or set of tasks in the same way at a no specific time or place. Working agile is not the manner, time or location but it is more results driven - how well do employees do it. It integrates time and place flexibility but also focuses on the manner/doing work differently that results in higher performance and better outcome. It is transformational.
Agile working changes the whole working culture and the mindset of management and employees. It considers 4 factors of work, time - when do people work?, location - where people work?, role - what are the sets of tasks?, and the source - who does the work/tasks?. And once all these factors come together into a working culture within a set of guidelines but without boundaries, they result in efficiency in achieving work, then agile working is achieved.
Key benefits of agile working:
- It gives employees the freedom to work in the best location, making use of time and resources in the best way possible.
- Saves on time travelling, and the inconvenience of having to return to the physical desk or place of work.
- It optimizes the use of the latest technology such as virtual desktops and remote offices whilst connected through efficient collaboration tools.
- Agile working allows for teams to work more flexibly and also improve on cross department collaborations.
- It allows for the integration of work and lifestyle of employees.
Agile working brings together people, technology, processes, connectivity, time and place to determine the most efficient and effective way of working and carrying out tasks. The goal is to create a more responsive albeit effective and efficient organisation that improves business performance and increase customer satisfaction.The main barriers in agile working are the same objectives that it wants to change, the work culture and mindset of management and employees. Buying new technologies and investing in new workspaces is not sufficient. The keys to effectively implementing agile working are to engage your workforce, empower them in a relationship of trust, accountability in their roles in a company.