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Leadership, Employee Engagement and Digital Transformation: It's Really Important - 7 Tips!

“Work 4.0”, “Disruption” and “VUCA” - hardly a day goes by without a newspaper titling these buzzwords. The digital transformation is in full swing. What does this development mean for managers?

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The changing world of work

The fact is, our world is in continuous change, concepts of leadership and work, as we have known them so far, lose their validity. Anyone who wants to be successful in the future must now act and rethink the classical concepts of work that concern time, space and organization. There is also a clear change on the part of the employees:

A boss who says where it goes and staff, the kuschen, without questioning instructions? This is unthinkable for generation Y. They want to be involved and accept ever-less rigid guidelines. Classical hierarchical leadership has served us: in the age of digital transformation the employee gets a new value.

Leadership changes

Traditional work contexts and processes are dissolving, the classic “9-to-5 job” will perhaps be a relic of bygone days in just a few years. In order to remain competitive, the focus today is on the flexible and needs-based awarding of orders, detached from fixed work locations and times. The result of this development: Our working environment is changing from a presence culture to a result culture. For employees, this results in individual design potential, which among other things means a better work-life balance.

Managers, on the other hand, have to learn that they will motivate more than control in the future. When employees work in different locations, from home or on a completely different continent, everything can and must not go over the boss's table first. In addition, the decision-makers will face a completely different challenge: “Management by Walking Around” must also be digitized! Employees can only develop a sense of belonging and team spirit if they succeed in building and maintaining a personal bond through impersonal technical channels - even if they are scattered across the country or even around the world.

From the employee to the entrepreneur

What managers should not overlook, however, is that not all employees want the increasing responsibility for their own actions, which is accompanied by the digitization process. It is necessary to find a compromise in order to give them enough freedom on the one hand, but also the necessary security. However, a stronger takeover of responsibility can not be achieved by pressure. Here you are asked as boss: inspire, encourage and empower your employees! It is no longer a question of precisely dictating concrete guidelines and procedures.

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Your task is to become the coach of your team, and to moderate and accompany the process of solving - without prescribing the solution. This does not mean that you let your employees run and relax. The more self-organization, the more it must become your task to show employees a clear, shared orientation, especially if you work with cross-location or virtual teams. This requires the definition of connecting guiding and target images or superordinate strategies, the persecution of which makes sense to individual persons. In addition, however, it is also important to note the rules of play, which highlight the possibilities, but also the limits of individual action.

Jobhopping and Cherry-Picking instead of long-term employees

However, flexible forms of work and cooperation also mean that employees are no longer as closely involved as they used to be Company tie. The employment opportunities are diverse today, and not just for very well-trained employees. As a result, younger people in particular are no longer as interested in long-term relationships.

Instead of an indefinite employment, many of them tend to try different things for themselves. They also test very closely whether the employer really suits them. In contrast to their predecessors generation, many Gen-Y-lers do not have a hard time looking around for a new job if they do not see their individual needs sufficiently satisfied. Companies must adapt to this development - as every employee also loses valuable know-how!

Sense and self-responsibility instead of control!

The sense aspect is crucial for Gen Y, which is now entering the labor market. The boys are no longer satisfied with following instructions, but want to recognize the “big picture” and bring in their own ideas to achieve the goal. Take advantage of this attitude:

  1. Trust instead of rigid work paths: Transfer your employees responsibility for complex task processes. This signals that you trust them and are convinced of their abilities. The more tricky the tasks are and the more independent thinking is required, the better.
  2. Even if it is difficult for you: Leave it up to them how they get there. "We have always done this!" is the beginning of the end! Let your employees have a lot of room for maneuver so that they can make independent, responsible decisions.
  3. Continuous communication: Signal that you are interested in the progress of the tasks. Make regular feedback calls to get a picture of the current interim status of the project and, if necessary, to help with advice and action.
  4. Free space: Check the working time and work model models established in your company. Offer your employees the opportunity to mobile working in order to give them more freedom in the design of their professional and private life. Of course there are sectors where this is not possible, because the work has to be done in a fixed place, eg in the hospital. But here, too, you can meet your employees by introducing different part-time models, individual time-flexibility and overtime accounts.
  5. What you should not forget: Working together in the workplace - as far as it is good to work together - is an important binding factor for people in companies. Many employees stay in a company and feel tied up there because they enjoy working with their peers and the mere loss of that relationship keeps them from changing employers.
  6. Creating commonality: Of course, it is harder to create this sense of community if not all employees are full-time in the company, but some work half-day while others remain in the home office. Here it is the task of the management to promote the contact and exchange among the employees, so that not everyone looks only at his tasks and works stubbornly.
  7. Use technical possibilities: Good opportunities are, for example, a weekly Skype conference starting in the week, fixed attendance days or even regular teambuilding events such as a monthly afterwork meeting or joint workshops. The future of work lies before us - now it is up to us to shape it.

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