Manager-Leaders: 4 Keys to Planning the Recovery in 2021

By finding themselves on the front line during the past year, the manager-leaders had to handle this crisis of unprecedented magnitude, reacting quickly and strongly to help maintain operations as much as possible.

A few weeks were enough to make their schedules explode. Health protocols, telecommuting[1], mental health management, etc. were quickly called for. Without neglecting the essentials of management: employee engagement, internal skills development, and operations management.

Go ahead and ask them! Even today, crisis management remains their priority.

Quickly, they adopted a more flexible, iterative approach of responding rapidly to more tactical needs. Thus, for a time, these manager-leaders had to move away from long-term planning and focus on crisis management.
However, with the prospect of a return to normalcy, managers are now starting to plan for the recovery. This is being done quietly by preparing their teams for the market opportunities that will be available.

Maximize internal forces

It is now apparent that we will have to do more with less. Reduced budget margins are a very real factor for many companies. The key will be to leverage internal competencies – already present within companies – to maximize value and sustain employment. Managers must therefore take inventory of the potential skills to be developed with their internal resources.

Reinventing employee interactions

The hypothesis is now a certainty. The changes that were thought to be ephemeral are part of a long-term perspective, transforming management for years to come. Reinventing interactions between colleagues to maintain the social link is a priority, notably by adopting a hybrid work mode, dynamic and inclusive team meetings with workshop-conferences, micro-learning training in a more efficient and faster format.

Mastering digital management

Another managerial skill that is now essential is the mastery of digital management tools. Managers will have to manage multisite teams, working both face-to-face and virtually, with the challenge of inclusive and collaborative management. Beyond the tools, it is managerial behaviors that need to be adapted through training in digital leadership and managerial agility.

Monitor weak signals of disengagement

Remote management has created a new challenge for managers: managing the invisible. Indeed, physical interactions and informal exchanges at the coffee machine used to allow us to probe the mood and the non-verbal of the teams. From now on, new managerial practices must be imagined to allow the feedback of weak signals.

New managerial skills come to the forefront: honesty, listening, calm pragmatism, empathy and benevolence. These are prioritized to prevent burnout and maintain a relationship of trust.

You want to prepare for the recovery to seize market opportunities? We have certified leadership trainers and operational performance experts who can assist you.

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By Albertine Girard, Adm.A, M.Sc, ICF, Consultant in strategic management and professional coach,
HR Blog Contributor – Iceberg Management

[1] If you have not already done so, consult the Guide d’accompagnement pour une transition vers le travail hybride from the Ordre des CRHA for more advice. Our associates and co-founders, Julie and Medina, contributed to its section 1.4 on managing a hybrid work environment!