We all know that the future becomes more and more complex and challenging. We also know that solutions that are created through cooperation will be in high demand in the future.
It is a basic insight that you cannot solve all your problems alone and that a solution created by a team is often more competitive. One of the prerequisites is to be able to make good compromises that take everybody’s input into account.
Thus, increased complexities and new realities in the future workplace create new expectations for managers and employees. These expectations include a very strong ability to take initiatives, to be able to make good compromises, and to have strong agency and efficacy - to think holistically, be innovative and be good co-creators.
According to an article in the European Journal of Business and Management: “Recent studies have looked into the importance of developing positive organizational concepts like optimism, trust and engagement among employees so that organizations can function effectively in the dynamic markets and scenarios to achieve sustainability (Koyuncu et. al., 2006). Welch(2011) suggests that employee engagement is the most important factor that can drive organization success and organization effectiveness.” ( European Journal of Business and Management www.iiste.org ISSN 2222-1905 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2839 (Online) Vol.6, No.19, 2014 )
In order to enhance employee engagement, leaders, managers, and employees (referred to as self-leaders below) need to master three zones in their work life. The three zones are:
The zone of Me + Myself
The "Me + Myself" zone is about how self-leaders want to contribute and how they choose to lead themselves in everyday work life.
This zone is also about how the employees lead and conduct themselves in the best way. Here self-leaders are asked to be their own manager.
This means using themselves, both professionally and in relation to personal skills in the best possible way for the benefit of the company's customers.
This is where self-leaders take responsibility by contributing on their own initiative and putting their expertise to use. This also means systematically reflecting on their own on how to be aligned with the bigger goals of the company.
Self-leadership reflection is not a luxury; research shows that self-leaders become more efficient if they reflect on their tasks and lay out a strategy before they get started. When you experience that you have an overview and a direction, you will also feel less stressed and have more energy for work.
Me + You
The zone of ”Me + You” has its main focus on the skills of co-creation and supporting each other in the mutual processes. The Danish researcher Lotte Darsø, who is an expert in innovation and co-creative processes, names these skills as the biggest assets in innovation processes.
Self-leaders can do more and see more when they spend time on sharing their different perspectives. When a person gets a colleague's eyes on a task or situation, it becomes apparent that there are different approaches to the situation.
In close cooperation, good colleagues make you better no matter whether they strengthen or frustrate you. That is because they stretch your understanding of the world - of systems, and problems, etc. If you meet this in the right way, it will enhance your tolerance and co-creation. We are all different and have different perspectives. We see and understand reality and the future differently.
One of the main points about co-creation is therefore that misunderstandings and mistakes are neither wrong nor someone's "fault". On the contrary, they are to be expected and they are part of every organization and interpersonal relation. How to navigate this is a basic skill, but unfortunately it is something that creates a lot of conflicts and consumes a lot of time in many organizations.
Self-leaders have the basic duty to help each other to succeed and remember this basic fact.
Me + We
In the third zone all self-leaders need to master “Me + We”. The needs of the company as a whole are in focus in this zone.
Integrity and the ability to think holistically are crucial for the workplace of the future. This applies both task-wise, business-wise and relationally. No one person can see everything.
In times of change it is important to have a co-creative culture where leaders, managers, and employees feel they belong and feel unique. This will incite everyday brave actions and bold moves. Everybody’s knowledge and contribution are important when organizations are to succeed.
It is not predetermined who in the organization has the best ideas for the future. Everyone is hired to do different tasks in the organization and all are different. Therefore, every leader, manager, and employee need to feel invited to contribute in unique and necessary ways. When all people in the organization think holistically, the organization will be able to run further with the resources available.
The future of organizations is determined by the way we approach the future. The joint focus in a work-place culture of self-leadership is to envision a good future together - and to re-adjust and see opportunities are some of the key elements.
This self-leadership concept is a product of a co-creative process between Change Leader, Snr Partner ISSORIA Ursula M Erasmus and Visionary Leadership Expert, Keynote Speaker Sanina Kürstein.