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Quite often in recent times when I’ve been facilitating Human Resources needs for client companies, more and more managers have been making comments like “It’s not my responsibility to look after that”, or ‘I don’t get paid enough to get involved in those things”, or “Maybe if they paid me more I’d be more attentive to what’s happening”, and the increasingly popular “It’s not written in my job description so it’s got nothing to do with me”.

I wonder if the role of a manager has evolved into something quite different from the established expectations, or is it more to do with the newer wave of individuals in management positions.

 When conversing with managers that make such comments I’ve suggested that as a manager, maybe the individual should be representing the best interests of the company and that if something adverse is occurring, they as a manager should either deal with, or at least report it to a higher level, yet my suggestion is quite often met with the same or more explicit responses than were initially provided.

The general attitude of managers seems to have shifted from the space of being a representative of company loyalty in supporting the company’s best interests, and having some level of pride in the management role they have gained through knowledge, experience, or plain hard work, to somewhat of a more functional role that is simply a task-for-benefit relationship.

Maybe the entire definition of ‘manager’ has shifted so much that the manager of past years is largely unrecognizable in today’s working society, and if such an extensive evolution of a manager’s role has occurred, should business executives and owners similarly be changing their expectations when defining how their management structure supports the company when challenged with redefining the expectations that flow from such a role.   

Historically employees would gain their employment in companies they might aspire to remain with for some years, as in today’s workplace there are a portion of employees that have remained with the same company most of their career. The newer entrants developing their career journeys tend to take stepping stones from one company to the next every few years, often seeking out the next level of expertise or building on their career aspirations.

The view from the lens of the younger aspiring manager of today’s work environment is very different from the view through the lens of the established managerial career employee working their way through the ranks to a more senior role.

Company loyalty and management responsibility are the unspoken obligations of yesterday’s manager and now need possibly to be redefined when designing the expectations of a manager’s role, or should responsibility be moved further and evenly distributed across the entire workforce of the company as seen in newer management platforms such as Agile?

It seems that the established manager / employee business model does not match the employee pool of today or tomorrow, suggesting the role expectations of employees, managers, executives and business owners needs to be adjusted to match the current expectations of the employment market.

The duration of the average employee in their role is shorter, the desired amount of at-work time is reducing, company loyalty is lower, expected benefits are higher, functionality is more closely aligned with the job description, workforce quantities are reducing and employee participation at lower levels is higher.

For a significant portion of the more established executive teams and business owners, such changes can be difficult to fathom and might appear to be a minefield of issues to work through, yet if the shift in re-defining the role of manager is not attended to, businesses may suffer in performance and staff retention.

On occasion, a third party service provider can be of valuable assistance by removing any emotive content and working through such employment components more easily than those more directly invested in the business, gaining successful outcomes in closing the management gaps that have are emerging.

Has the role of today’s Manager changed?

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