What are the competencies, skills and knowledge that managers are going to need to deal with the changing work environment of the future? Here is what it is that people managers will need to do, learn and embrace in order to be fit for the future.
1. Social intelligence
The world is becoming social. Right now, for leaders, it is an opportunity; an opportunity to talk directly to their teams wherever, whenever. It is a management skill to use the opportunity to become a real person. An opportunity to demonstrate some of the other competencies. In the future, there won't be a choice. Everything will be social. And who wants to be a people manager and who isn't involved, is going to be about as relevant as a VHS player.
2. Trust and authenticity
Trust in organizations is declining. Too many scandals, too many dodgy deals. Too much marketing spin. People trust people that they know. Who are real. Trust in leadership is fundamental, right now and in the future. So the advice for the people managers of 2025 is to take their real self to work.
3. Collaboration and communication
The old methods of communication barely cut it today, and they certainly won't work tomorrow. Organizations refer to the "dialogue" they have with their employees as "internal communications" but most of the time it is more like internal telling. A member of the senior team pitches up once or twice a year with a boring PowerPoint presentation and rates the strategy at a group of bored employees who have been mandated to attend. Newsletters sent through the post, all-users email updates, noticeboards. None of this is going to cut it in the future workplace. Employees will want the information that they need to find them in the place that they usually hang out. They want to collaborate on the tools that they use outside of work. The barrier between work and home is going to get increasingly blurred, for the right reasons.
4. Adaptability to change
Because everything is going to carry on changing, faster and faster. The management skill of people managers is to be able to adapt to change, be agile and flexible.
5. Tech savvy
There is quite simply no choice on this front, for anyone. In the workplace of today, there are still plenty of Execs who have their PA's print out their emails. There are plenty of people around who think that they can get away without using technology. A management skill of the future is to be tech savvy.
People don't want to be told what to do. They want to be led by someone who knows that they are talking about, and who has personal credibility. And then they want to make their own mind up how they do their tasks. They want autonomy. A management skill will be about telling people what to do and then let them work on their own. Afterwards, have conversations with them about how they continue to develop.