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Managerial Effectiveness: The New Imperative For HR Leaders

When asked to name the top business priorities and challenges for the present and the future, most people are inclined to cite brand value, employee experience, talent acquisition and retention, future preparedness, change management, profitability, etc. By reflecting on all these enumerated priorities, you will find that success depends largely on how effectively the managers and the frontline workers are aligned and committed to working towards these.  The need for managerial effectiveness has been emphasized, resulting from uncertainties such as scarcity of the right talent, global supply chain constraints, and new employee expectations. This necessitates a greater understanding of the new imperative, which is managerial effectiveness, and establishes a firm ground for sustained delivery and outcome.

Managers of Today are Leaders of Tomorrow

What distinguishes leaders from managers is the sense of purpose. Leaders activate people to participate in their vision, and managers create, measure and achieve goals to reach there. "Every company, from startups to multinationals, has too many managers and few leaders. Leadership is a paradox. We need to develop new methods to develop our managers into leaders," said Anand Shankar, Senior Vice President - Group HR at Tata Group and Director of Tata Management Training Center.

According to Gartner's recent report on Top 5 Priorities for HR Leaders in 2023, 24 percent of leaders agree that their leadership development approach does not prepare leaders for the future of work. What can be done differently to avert this problem? To begin their leadership journey, managers need to start by focusing on the macros picture to align their plans with the organization's vision.

A Common Purpose

Managers must work on how they are perceived. Effective managers not only adapt to the changing environment but also constantly evolve to dominate their field. They inspire their teams through trust and transparency to tread towards meeting common goals. "Managers should ask themselves, "I care for my team, but am I doing enough for them? We all are social animals, and we'll only thrive in a positively charged social environment," says Professor Jonathan Smilansky, HR consultant on talent development and engagement, executive assessment. Being attentive to how they are perceived allows managers to be diligent about their decisions, the messages that go through them, and the impact they might create.

Professor Smilansky says, "The percentage of employees who are positively engaged in their work is less than half, which is a concerning call for managers driving the need to make the workplace an employee-friendly environment." After taking macro factors in full view, the second step for managers is to give a common purpose to high-functioning teams that can accomplish much more working together than individuals working autonomously.

Extent of Technology

"Work tech is going to be very important in the future. We see an increased workload for managers. We need to dwell on how to use technology to improve the productivity and efficiency of our people," says Saurabh Dwivedi, Partner, Deloitte. Adopting technology has many layers. Chatbots can be used to perform standard tasks. At the same time, much more advanced generative AI can overtake complex human tasks such as counseling employees about their careers or life. However, to what extent the technology will be used is a decision that rests with the managers and leaders.

Utilizing appropriate technology, managers can create a positive employee experience which in turn will yield better results and help the organizations reach their business goals. At the same time, when it comes to solving a conflict between two individuals, technology might be rendered useless because the ability to solve a human problem lies in understanding human emotions.

Closing Thoughts

The role of HR is crucial in developing managers into great leaders of tomorrow. HR must identify top-performing managers to help groom them to be equipped with appropriate skills and behavioral competencies and be ready to take up a greater role when the need arises. Managers must act as a bridge between senior leaders and employees and balance both sides to ensure that employees and business leaders are aligned. Only the best managers can be the best leaders. 


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.