How to prepare budding managers for an uncertain future!
The pandemic outbreak in 2020 has validated our belief that volatility, uncertainty, and complexity are real and possible. And as the world moves through the emerging realities of the global coronavirus, it stands to testimony that those who are responsive to change and even thrive on it to retain sustainable competitive advantage. This is also true in the case of young minds/budding managers who will become an integral part of the future workforce.
The point to note here is there are still no definite conceptions of what the future of work will look like. Given the current situation, emerging new-age technologies are actively in the process of reshaping the workforce as well as the workspace. For instance, a time may present itself when automation including smart machines or robots can possibly replace the human-led workforce altogether. So, it is difficult to analyze the extent of changes these technological shifts will bring or uncertainties that may emerge in the future.
Having said that, it is also important to know that embracing uncertainty and preparing for rapid change is not easy. Therefore, it is prudent for budding managers to be prepared in advance. This approach will help them to face uncertain situations in the future.
Against such a backdrop, it also becomes imperative for the stakeholders (such as learning institutions/management schools) to help budding managers work towards developing multiple skills. These include skills such as analytical, creative as well as flexibility along with learning the basics of financial accounts, managing inventory, and so forth, that can be applied across settings.
Further, having social-emotional skills developed at the center of learning is indeed a great advantage. Because these can help individuals’/ budding managers to establish the capabilities necessary to navigate uncertainty throughout their lives.
Sometimes working with peers or employees one has never met in person makes it tough for individuals. Some also find it difficult to adjust to a new workplace easily. Therefore, as team leaders/managers, one can plan an outing or a lunch with their teams to ease the discomfort. In the current situation, when most people are working remotely, virtual celebrations or online gaming sessions can work as an icebreaker between employees and team leaders.
More so, an individual’s ability to think and apply the skill as well as knowledge in a specific context needs to have a holistic approach. Learning institutions can help create that balance, thereby preparing learners/budding managers for their first careers. Institutions can also help them develop the adaptability and resilience needed to navigate through the changed/disrupted economy. In addition, they also help learners/budding managers in developing the maturity necessary to address complex situations/problems.
The pandemic, in no time, led people to explore several tech platforms (such as google groups, meets, etc.), and these have now become an integral part of people's lives. So, it is likely that the use of such online platforms to communicate with teams across geographies is here to stay. Imparting training in the use of new-age digital platforms thus becomes imperative. Future managers having the knowledge and efficiency to work using advanced technologies will save both time and money.
In a digitally-driven setup, it is also important managers have the ability to quickly shift their work processes. One must possess the knowledge on how to use technology such as machine to machine connectivity to deploy a network, using which work is organized and shared. However, managers must still encourage in-person communication at the workplace.
Moreover, educational institutions in collaboration with industries can work on training students on real-world problems. This will help students inculcate readiness, purpose, and vision on working towards an existing problem(s) - that will be more important and enduring than learning specific content or job- and task-related skills.
In a nutshell, an individual’s holistic development does not just include subject knowledge. The emphasis is on their overall personal development. The focus is also to engage them on how they approach a problem and provide the much-needed inputs that are beneficial for both their career as well as the changing conditions.