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Should I have a career where I manage teams in Industry 4.0?

BY: Brigitte Schwartz|26 February 2019
BLOG| My future career

Against a backdrop of phenomenally fast-paced change, there’s a call for managers who can nimbly lead teams in the experimental approach they need to succeed. To do so, leaders will need a powerful arsenal of soft and hard skills in order to build the solid foundation agile teams need to allow for an iterative approach.

 

This makes managers critical for strategic change management, which has made management one of the highest paying roles in South Africa in 2019. With Industry 4.0 firmly underway, managing teams is incredibly demanding. Leaders will need to be strong collaborators and communicators to cascade a guiding ‘north star’ (overarching vision and purpose) throughout their companies.

 

THE FRAMEWORK FOR MANAGERS IN 2019

Deloitte’s in-depth surveys of 2000 C-Suit executives showed most leaders are grappling with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) and what their businesses need to do to benefit from the rapid pace of change and innovation. Interestingly, it emerged that executives are primarily concerned with positively impacting the world. In fact, they rated ‘societal impact’ as the most significant indicator of their organisations’ annual performance.

 

This shows a serious shift that’s very much aligned with consumer expectations. Trends reports for 2019 show that brands are expected to be bastions of morality and champions of positive change. #MoralityMarketing is a buzzword for 2019; companies need to authentically care about making a difference to their communities to connect with an audience and build followership.

 

This is also an imperative for businesses that want to attract top-performing millennial talent. For leaders, this is another big factor to focus on in an age that’s all about transformation and strategic change management. 2019 ushers in a fresh barrage of digital transformation trends, with data (and data protection), ‘multiclouds’, chatbots, improved processing power and connected devices becoming more advanced than ever.

 

As we go further down the digital and tech rabbit hole, there’s a demand for companies – and leaders especially - to be ‘human’. The biggest differentiator between us and our AI colleagues is our emotional intelligence, creativity and problem-solving capacity.

 

MANAGING TEAMS IN INDUSTRY 4.0:

 

Given this, here are some of the key ways managers will need to lead their teams now and in the future:

1. Clear the Lines:

One of the biggest skills managers will need is the ability to communicate efficiently. This means ditching silos, championing cross-departmental collaboration, and setting up seamless internal communication systems. Managers must be persuasive and charismatic communicators, with the ability to inspire those around them to get on-board with the big-picture vision.

 

2. Lead the leaders:

Deloitte found only 47% of leaders are confident in their efforts to create a workforce that’s equipped for Industry 4.0. This means recognising the importance of continuous learning for themselves and their team members. Harvard Business Review (HBR) suggests leaders need to go from being directive to instructive. This means entrenching organisational foresight to spot gaps and provide learning opportunities accordingly. Leaders need to predict the future implications of AI and assist their teams to keep learning in order to ‘power their organisations into the future’.

 

3. Test the team’s mettle:

Interestingly, one of HBR’s top talent management trends for 2019 is relooking performance appraisals and incentives. Plus, there’s more emphasis on personalised compensation and incentives to encourage purpose and creativity. Managers will need to continuously execute smart systems to monitor performance standards, with these shifting trends in mind.

 

4. Team for a purpose:

With such an uncertain world, it’s vital that managers know and convincingly communicate an overarching vision and purpose to their teams. Leaders will need to break down silos and get people to strategically cross-collaborate to move that vision and purpose forwards.

 

It is not hard to find examples of when teamwork goes right and equally to find examples of when it goes very wrong. Any rugby or football fan will quickly be able to rattle off a list of names of coaches that showed excellent leadership, Alex Ferguson, Nick Mallet and Rassie Erasmus, for example. And of not such great leadership. Unfortunately, José Mourinho, Pieter de Villiers and Allister Coetzee ended their careers on a low, largely due to their inability to motivate and pull together their team. If you would have done it a lot better, this job could be for you - check out our General Guide to General Managers.

 

SGI Managing Teams

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