The Future of Work – according to Marcus Buckingham
By Justine Eden, Director, Eden Ritchie Recruitment
I recently attended an online session with Marcus Buckingham hosted by The Growth Faculty, where Marcus was discussing the future of work supported by research from a 2020 workplace survey, which was, apparently once of the largest workplace survey ever done. This survey highlighted trends that will potentially drive the way we will work in the future and also explored the resilience of different workplaces across different regions.
Marcus noted that resilience is not so much driven by gender or age and stated the survey results demonstrated that the countries best responding to COVID had the most resilient workplaces. Workers with direct experience of COVID – experienced either first hand or through family members, were three times more resilient – as direct experience replaces the fear of the unknown. Marcus stated that we don’t necessarily fear change, but that we fear the unknown and this is what diminishes resilience. The more change we experience the more resilient we become.
As humans we like specificity and feel confident when we are told clearly what the situation is in the face of change. Trust is a multiplier of resilience and the two are closely linked – the higher the trust, the higher the level of resilience. Marcus states leaders need to display “vivid foresight” – by this he means telling your team a few things that won’t change, such as values or competitive advantage and using stories and anecdotes to paint a vivid picture.
As a future leader, Marcus believes the best skills you can develop are transparency and vividness, he states that the best leaders are skilled in “anticipatory communication” and will tell their team what they need to know, before they need to know it. To be in a position to do this, Marcus suggests weekly check ins with every individual in your team – either in person, or over email or text, framed by asking two questions “what are your priorities this week?” and “how can I help”.
Marcus’ belief is that the perfect span of control equals the span of your attention, which equals the number of people you can personally check in with every week (allowing around 15 minutes every week per person). He states that individualised attention defines leadership.
Marcus is well known for his “Standout Strengths Assessment” where you are matched across nine different roles particularly your top two roles which capture how you present to others in the workplace. This assessment is available free here and worth doing if you are interested in understanding your comparative advantage in the workplace.
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