What impact does New Work have on leadership culture?
Numerous employees seek modern working concepts, such as those embodied by New Work. According to a recent study by Bitkom, 92 percent of German employees are very open to this concept. Nearly 80 percent of respondents believe that digital technologies are essential to doing their daily work. 30 percent regard digital literacy as one of the most important skills, whereas around 70 percent deem it as relevant as professional or social skills.
The New Work topic is not only trending among employees, but also arises on many executive conversations.
"Digitization is New Work's driver. Digital technologies enable mobile and self-determined work regardless of schedules and locations", says Bitkom's President Achim Berg.
Many professionals connect their personal wishes with social demands in these new working concepts.
The corresponding spatial concepts are becoming increasingly prevalent, and one in ten office employee do not even have an assigned desk any more. New Work focuses on employees' requirements, with employers benefiting from increased innovation and employee engagement, leading to increased long-term competitiveness. For meeting employees' requirements calls for a change in management style, as well as the introduction of the latest technologies and modern workplaces.
Digital leadership culture
New Work stands for flat structures, the breaking up of traditional hierarchy organisations, and the democratisation of employment relations. At the same time, this also means increased self-determination and participation.
For executives, this entails a major mindset change and, therefore, a new understanding of leadership. Supervisors should become networkers in the digital age. Employees, who often work disregarding schedules or locations, demand agile and flexible team steering. Trust and courage are key prerequisites to build a pleasant working atmosphere. Each team member should be managed individually.
Along the same lines, there must be an open culture where mistakes are allowed and suggestions welcome. Rigid structures and silo thinking should be shelved and replaced by contemporary concepts.
Digital Leadership - only through a trusting cooperation will employees be empowered to develop their own full potential in decentralised structures and to successfully take the next steps together as a team.
Leadership in the age of New Work should, more than ever, be understood as a service of sorts characterised by support, frameworks, and the opening of open spaces. Conversely, this also means that executives must give up control and power. Control is replaced by trust and empathy. A leadership style that cultivates an open culture of error, in which critical issues can be dealt with and existing approaches questioned, draws much closer to a modern and agile leadership style.
Granting employees ample leeway to operate allows a far more powerful deployment than that arising from a rigid top-down approach.