When Taylor, Fayol, and Gantt argued and implemented the fundamentals of administration, leadership positions were created to lead and ensure that the production line worked. The famous “Command and Control” (Management 1.0) emerged, where human resources were actually treated as resources.
The second great revolution (Management 2.0) took place in the mid-’60s when managers started to share some responsibilities with the team. At the same time, some important management tools emerged, such as ISO, SixSigma, PMI, among others, to improve control and increase efficiency. Even with a great awareness about the team’s importance, we still saw bloated and vertical hierarchies, with several levels of chiefdoms.
Finally, we reach the 21st century and emerge from the industrial era to enter the era of knowledge and creative economy. Now motivations are no longer extrinsic, such as stability, promotion, and salary. Today, knowledge workers are more attentive to intrinsic motivations (Management 3.0) such as purpose, autonomy, and mastery.
We understand that the role of management has changed completely. The traditional manager, forged in the culture of command and control (as we all are, to a certain extent), is quickly losing ground. This manager used to behave as a judge of the daily activities of his subordinates, or grand administrator of individual tasks, where people (resources) waited for his guidance disguised as orders in order to be able to start the day. This leader, focused on the daily management of what to do, now has his days numbered.
Today, a Leader can no longer behave like a boss: he must be a servant leader, a coach in the broadest sense of the word. He must help the team prioritize the work correctly, aiming at greater business value with short delivery cycles; stimulate the teams to have a system of collaboration and constant and honest feedback, contributing to a culture of continuous improvement, creating a sense of empowerment among self-motivated teams and, as a consequence, stimulating the collective intelligence. That is an Agile Leader.
The new role of the leader in the construction of an Agile (and consequently Digital) organization, undergoes a profound transformation in the way in which we collaborate. We generate value, we learn and share this knowledge and as a consequence, we evolve. So for this new role to achieve a new mindset, the new manager must be concerned with how to facilitate the team so that it reaches a degree of high performance.
We start with the principle that organizations only change if people change. Furthermore, a leader can’t alter and/or transform the culture directly, but he can change the system of work, which will create new behavior by his team. Over time, the new behavior becomes the norm and turns into culture. “A good cultural transforming agent shouldn’t concern himself with building an Agile company, but rather an Agile team so the team builds an Agile company.” This clearly summarizes the new attitude and role of a leader in times of Digital Transformation.