Manager 2.0: A One-Man Band?

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

For the last 10 or 15 years, technology consulting companies have consolidated a complex professional figure around project management and professional groups: the manager. Thus people with the following profile are appointed: important academic training, between the ages of 30 to 40, little field experience specifically oriented to technology, but yes to experience in management, personal skills and social standards, professional career ambition, and vocation to take on responsibilities.

The fast growth of many companies has been based on the creation of hierarchical structures in which the manager has played a major role as a linker between business strategy and technical mass. The manager’s role has been to design and implement, with great agility, the tactical approaches to respond the objectives of the first, and at the same time be able to organize and direct the second. The result can be described as acceptable, with an important caveat.

The same business strategies that created the breeding ground for the environment of management did not put enough care to accompany such professionals in their professional development in the long term and, consequently, little foresaw the high degree of pressure to which they are subject. The high domestic and foreign competition, and the need for continuous updated training to cover the gap in competent management teams

The manager has to negotiate, represent the company, select, evaluate, motivate and directly direct other professionals, whom may be more prepared in the technical content than the manager, produce proposals and, many times, sell them, etc.  A myriad of hats that fit more or less on the manager’s head but have not been made or adapted to suit him/her.

The shift to management 2.0. New Abilities and Skills.

The manager figure is the one figure that has influenced the change of scenery to management 2.0, essentially in an environment that decidedly walks towards the general adoption of this model of relationship management in projects, with well defined characteristics that generate new necessities in abilities and skills for the person who will be the manager 2.0: management of virtual teams with the need to use 2.0 tools on a daily basis of his/her management, establishment, diffusion and use of collaborative software, blogs, wikis, web 2.0…

When the manager 2.0 is required to communicate openly, they must transform (or adopt the attitude) of a leader capable of managing emergent structures for the development of collective ability and competence.  The traditional top-down management has to move towards bottom-up behaviors, collecting from decentralized environment platforms, access to information of little restriction and very much alive, flexibility in defining strategies, in the imagination of tactics and in the adoption and use of technique… 

We speak, therefore, of not only a changing figure, but a new figure with a more demanding profile, if possible, but also with more possibilities to find and generate collaboration, of which will continue being the hinge.

Juan Ignacio Barenys de Lacha is Director at Odati and Eskpe Consulting. Member of AEDIPE, creator of the Odati Method for training executives and managers, ex-CEO of Olivetti Information Systems Spain and of Sligos Systems and chairman of the World Forum Congress in Washington in 1990.