What does the future of management look like

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By Sinéad Gibney, Training and Education Consultant

‘Managing others’ is the skill categorised as least likely to be automated in a 2016 McKinsey study entitled Where Machines Can Replace Humans and Where They Can’t, confirming the critical need for companies to invest in developing and maintaining strong management practice in order to survive and to thrive.

Management practice can sometimes be sidelined by a focus on strategic practices but a 2017 Harvard Business Review article entitled Why Do We Undervalue Competent Management? clearly finds that core management practices must remain a priority. The landmark article is based on a longitudinal and large scale study on management practice carried out by HBR and the London School of Economics, across 34 countries and a wide variety of companies which stated based on its findings; “If you look at the data, it becomes clear that core management practices can’t be taken for granted….Firms with strong managerial processes perform significantly better on high-level metrics such as productivity, profitability, growth, and longevity.”

The future of work

The future of work is another current theme relevant to management practice that assists managers in applying leading research and theory to their own industry or sector, but how can we ensure our management is future proof?

The development of key transversal and soft skills is critical for today’s manager, allowing them to remain nimble in an increasingly uncertain world of work. A 2018 PWC report entitled Preparing for Tomorrow’s Workforce Today captures this message succinctly; “Trust, humanness – the things that make humans different from machines – and individual adaptability, dominate the list of capabilities that respondents to our survey see as most important when preparing their organisations for tomorrow’s business environment.”

The demand for strong and improved management practice is evident across sectors within Ireland. The Department of Education’s National Skills Strategy 2025 prioritises management within the key occupational families of Construction, Financial, and Science, Engineering and IT. The same report also cites manager training as critical to the SME sector; “The role of managers and their development is critical in supporting Irish enterprises to export and grow to scale.”

Similarly Solas’ 2017 National Skills Bulletin includes managers in the top three occupations for absolute employment growth. In the ICT sector, there is a recognition that investing in management practice has a knock-on effect that goes beyond the individual being trained, as outlined in the Skills Ireland 2013 ICT Future Skills Needs Report; “The promotion of up-skilling management….addresses the need by enterprises to be more aware and effective in managing resources, which can attract, support and retain  the best people, both within Ireland and from other countries.”

To chat to the team about customising a leadership and management programme for your organisation, contact Irish Times Training on (01) 472 7101.

About Sinéad Gibney

With almost 20 years’ experience as a leader with deep multi-cultural experience, Sinéad has proven to be a pragmatic problem-solver comfortable with ambiguity in fast-changing environments. Sinéad served as Director of Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for two years from its founding in 2014. Serving as Head of Social Action for Google, she managed Google Ireland’s philanthropy portfolio for six years.

Sinéad now splits her time between politics and as a training and education consultant,  delivering training and coaching, on behalf of Irish Times Training in the areas of Performance Management, Change Management, Workplace Resilience, Diversity and Personal Effectiveness.

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