The Role of the Manager in Modern Empowered Teams
The modern global economy urges organizations to redefine both managers’ and workers’ roles in overcoming the old hierarchical model of the industrial age. The ability to create a dynamic structure where the core consists of empowered teams which include the managers is crucial to surviving the epochal changes and holding a competitive position in the market. This paper provides an overview of the teams management model. It highlights how managers’ function should shift from a decision-making perspective to an interactive role where the management is shared with employees. The text also sheds light on the concept of a self-managing workforce capable of contributing to the decision-making through their critical thinking.
The substantial modifications in the global economy have affected organizations in many ways. The need to rethink the operating principles has forced companies to resort to downsizing and increase the workloads, undermining the traditional idea of job security (Conrad & Murphy, 1995). Moreover, with the rise of the teams approach, even managers have become expendable. The conventional formal hierarchies assigned specific roles to employees while managers planned, organized, and controlled their work (McCrimmon, 2010). In the new scenario of empowered teams, managers’ position has become precarious: the traditional professional figure of the manager as a decision-maker is no longer essential. Hence, it is crucial to assess the role of managers in the teams management model.
The teams approach values the critical role of each individual and recognizes their unique understanding of specific procedures of the work processes. From this perspective, workers have broader knowledge than managers and are perfectly able to manage themselves (McCrimmon, 2010). All employees need to be a part of the management process, and managers must abandon the control-based approach in favor of a more interactive role. Modern managers should focus on leadership, implementing new ideas, solving issues, coordinating teams, and promoting the development of the workforce (Conrad & Murphy, 1995). Such a scenario suggests many growth opportunities and a broader definition of management which includes the employees.
An empowered self-managing workforce entails a deeper engagement of employees in the management of the organization. They become proactive, and their specific knowledge allows two-way communication with managers, negotiating the allocation of resources, and even promoting their career advancement. Employees are no longer just hired hands, they have become partners (McCrimmon, 2010). While the power of knowledge workers increases, modern managers should be able to coordinate the available resources and direct them towards the organization’s vision. Managers should become team advisors, advocates, or case managers (Conrad & Murphy, 1995). They contribute to shaping a culture where the process of decision-making involves the employees and values their knowledge.
The hierarchical structure of industrial-age organizations is obsolete to gain a competitive advantage in the current global economy. The empowered teams model is a successful approach which rethinks the organizational structure. On the one hand, the model empowers the workforce through the appreciation of their unique skills. On the other hand, it redefines managers’ function, enhancing their role as facilitators more than controllers and decision-makers. In modern post-industrial organizations, both employees and managers are part of the management process. The workforce is proactive and involved in the decision-making process of the organization. Therefore, managers need to focus on their leadership, shaping the company vision and culture, coordinating teams, allocating resources, and favoring the staff’s development.
Conrad, L. D., & Murphy, S. E. (1995). The manager’s changing role in a teams environment. Cause/Effect, 1995, 47–49. Web.
McCrimmon, M. (2010). A new role for management in today’s post-industrial organization. Ivey Business Journal. Web.