The 5 Attributes of Tomorrow’s Most Remarkable Managers

When they offered you this job, whether it was a long time ago or just a couple months ago, you didn’t think that you would be expected to surf on a raging sea with this new management role. They did not tell you that it would be like learning to ride the waves, even though they must have done it before you. You were just excited to embark on a journey – to take on a promotion, full of hope and optimism and an unshakable motivation for all the great projects and changes you were going to implement. And you wanted to do it with respect and humanity. Even though they did not succeed at the task, it didn’t mean that you wouldn’t. You were the one who was going to make it happen. And then…

Then you realize that catching this wave is not so easy. The ocean, even though it looks quiet, is capricious. You are working hard, doing your best…but realize that, for any number of internal and external reasons, you will not compete in the world’s championship of the best, memorable managers.

Managing, like surfing, requires an amazing sense of balance. Before implementing changes, and before managing a team of individuals, you realize that you must first manage from the top – manage your stakeholders, your peers, and then yourself. You are doing your best, however, your team is suffering.

After working for 20 years in big corporations, I have evidence that the league of brilliant and respected managers is not a crowded club. Despite the training, the concepts, the new tools that flourish on your company e-learning platform, the emails your management sends asking you to embrace new ways of working, it seems the reality is somehow very different. Because you are doing your best and still, your team is suffering.

Who is at fault? Your boss? Your company? The CEO? Your team members? Or even the economy? The competition? The COVID-19 crisis? The “VUCA” world? Wait. Could it be you?

Actually, it is nobody’s fault and everyone’s responsibility.

Ok, but how do we come to terms with this? By accepting that the world is dramatically changing, admitting that we were wrong, and by opening our minds to other – not yet explored – visions.

Here are the five attributes leaders will demonstrate that will bring tremendous value to tomorrow’s businesses.

#1. Inner Work

Knowing your belief system, identifying your fears, and managing your emotions are prerequisites for a balanced life. Nobody wants you to overreact.

An open mindset, true trust and (self-)confidence are the qualities of the humanists. Nobody wants you to be stubborn.

Gentle power, grounded presence and self-love are the basis of inspiring leadership. Nobody wants you to be invisible.

Focusing on the external world can wait, until you have figured out who you are and who you want to be.

You lead others the way you lead yourself. So first, make sure you lead your life the way you want to be led.

#2. Vulnerability

With deep inner work, you will be able to acknowledge your failures and their associated learnings. Taking the responsibility of being wrong or for changing your mind, are some of the most powerful human connection tools that exist. Coming down from your ivory tower and showing up for your team with authenticity and humility will never be seen as a weakness. Instead, it will install a strong, trusting, and long-lasting relationship with your team members.

Your story is worth to be told.

You do not want to simply look smart and perfect to gain respect. Instead, you surly want to look wise, inspiring by being vulnerable, demonstrating humility and sharing your learnings.

#3. Part of the Team

Simon Sinek wrote, “Leaders eat last.” Understand that your employees are in charge of serving your clients. You, the manager, are in charge of serving your team.

Once you have worked on yourself, you do not feel the need to serve your interests before their own anymore. Be present, accessible, open minded, trustful, respectable, seek new ideas and help in order to collaborate. Keep in mind that your first priority as manager is to make sure your team has everything it needs to perform their work, in terms of both resources and emotional support. And this will make success knock at your door.

#4. Assertiveness

Spending your energy on your team can be exhausting. Surfing is a very demanding sport, and so is management. Knowing what you want will help you identify your boundaries. These boundaries, when expressed explicitly, will be understood and respected. But you must have the courage to say, “No” sometimes. Have this difficult conversation before the situation is unbearable, and choose when you are available and when you are not. You decide what your limits are. Then, make these boundaries public to your team, your boss, your peers. Ask them what their own limits are and, together, contract. You can “contract and re-contract” with your co-workers as many times as necessary. You choose. You are in charge. You are responsible.

#5. Boldness

A lot of companies praise the entrepreneurial mindset in their employees; they ask them to take risks, to celebrate failures. The reality is that fear dictates many behaviours in many companies. Instability, a lack of trust, economical pressure – all those do is discourage risk-taking and failure, despite the polished speeches given by the higher spheres. But what if you tried? What if you had (secret or public) objectives, for yourself or your team, that were unlikely to be attained?

When you are emotionally stable – thanks to the self-confidence and optimism that inner work allows – the level of fears diminishes. A bold manager, just like an entrepreneur, is someone who dares to try reaching impossible objectives. When you reach for the moon and then you fail, you will at least land among the stars. And that is freaking inspiring. Wait, isn’t that what is expected from great leaders?

Nobody knows exactly what is coming in tomorrow’s business, but acknowledging that we are in an exponential world means that the moment we have it all figured out, “it” will already be over.

Managers who embrace these five attributes will make the difference in the long run, by giving their company and team their fearless presence, emotional stability and gentle power and grace – even when the waves hit.

It is everyone’s responsibility to dare to, at least, try.

Melanie Thuillard

Melanie Thuillard, founder of “myIdentity Coaching & Consulting”, is an ICF-certified coach with 20 years of experience working in multinational companies, mainly in human resources managerial and expert roles. Based in Lausanne, Switzerland, she offers leadership solutions to companies and individuals worldwide, with group or tailor-made programs and one-on-one coaching sessions.

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