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Old Problems, New Tricks

Jun 8, 2023 | Conscious Leadership, Daily Trek

Old Problems, New Tricks - Radical Trekking - Ayelet Baron

Old Problems, New Tricks

Year after year, we see the same old problems. Reports keep showing how work remains unhealthy. Media channels broadcast crisis after crisis in workplaces worldwide. The yearly Gallup survey in 2022 highlighted the same grim fact: Employee engagement hit a seven-year low. Just one third of workers felt engaged at work. Even more worrying, nearly one in five (18%) said they were ‘actively disengaged.

We hear a lot about the future of work, but we’re still seeing new spins and tricks on old problems with band-aid solutions. And then, it’s called a best practice or innovation. Most recently, the headline tells us: “A company replaced all of its managers with coaches. Employees became 20% more productive–and much happier.”

Our world of work is in a constant state of evolution. Among the emerging trends, replacing traditional managers with coaches will now be discussed. But is this transformation truly the groundbreaking direction we need?

Let’s consider Time Etc., a virtual assistant platform. They asked their small team of fewer than a hundred employees what they wanted from a manager. The answers? Autonomy, personal growth, goal-setting, feedback, and meaning. That led to their decision to swap all managers with coaches.

But let’s stop and think. Why do we keep leading with structure? Are we just shuffling deck chairs on a sinking ship? And have we questioned whether the shift happened because employees felt someone actually listened?

Managers and coaches play distinct roles. Managers oversee, often micromanage and control, while coaches inspire and guide. However, the core issue lies beyond these roles. It’s not about substituting one for the other. We have an opportunity of truly understanding people’s fundamental needs. And why old problems like trust are so broken and engagement so low.

Beyond Old Problems and Toward Holistic Systems

The old problems to address—employees’ feelings of insignificance and disconnect—are often glossed over. Solutions like this may appear as ingenious quick fixes, potentially offering new revenue streams for external consultants. But we need more than superficial changes. We need deep, purposeful shifts rooted in the desire for authentic growth and engagement.

What if we need conscious leaders who practice open dialogue, honesty and build communities? We won’t change the business world by battling existing systems. Instead, we envision what could be and remember that we are powerful creators.

Real transformation doesn’t sprout from swapping roles or installing surveillance software. It blossoms from cultivating a sense of value, purpose and meaning. And workplaces flourish when we express trust, promote growth, and help each team member unlock their potential. The true essence of leadership is values.

Therefore, the future of work isn’t about merely replacing managers with coaches. It’s about creating a culture that appreciates people as we are. It’s about encouraging growth, authenticity, and connection. And it’s also about embarking on a human evolution—a transformation that goes beyond digital strategies and touches the heart of our shared experience.

So, rather than focusing solely on structural shifts, like only swapping managers for coaches, let’s prioritize creating whole, healthy systems. Systems that revolutionize not only work but life as well.

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