Matrix Management / Virtual Teams

What isn’t the responsibility of leaders these days?

It has been a challenging period for leaders, not least because we have been encouraged to get involved in a whole range of discussions that are new to many of us. Our leadership agenda when managing people working from home now includes discussing home circumstances, family commitments and childcare, physical and mental health, and emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

At a broader level we are encouraged to discuss and take a stand on diversity, equity and climate change issues outside the traditional boundaries of the organisation.

I saw something on LinkedIn this week about checking in on whether your people were getting enough sleep. Maybe I should connect to my people’s heath apps to check their sleep and daily steps?

I was talking to a group of German HR managers this week and we were discussing whether this was OK. In Germany people traditionally keep a strong boundary between work and non-work lives. We discussed whether managers were confident and trained to have these discussions, and whether they should even be having them.

This HRB article predicts that organisations will move from managing the employee experience to managing the employee life experience

To an extent some of this is a welcome humanization of leadership, but it could easily become an intrusion. Some people may be happy to have greater work life integration, many others may prefer to jealously segregate the two spheres. As we move into a more long term hybrid way of working we need to be clear what we want leaders to be involved in, and what not.

A key question for me is – do you want your employer managing your life?

For every narrative encouraging business to be socially active and understand the holistic needs of their people, there is an alternative narrative about distrust of business, privacy and intrusion.

Yes, having people who are healthy in all aspects of their lives is good business, but where are the boundaries between business, government, wider society etc, and how far do we go.

Critically as a CEO what should I and my leaders STOP doing to make time for all these additional tasks?

As the emergency situation around the pandemic unwinds, government will be increasingly turning to business to pay the bill. In the UK Corporation tax is already slated to increase by 30%. There are lots more bills coming our way you can be sure.

We are entering a global recession in some sectors, some of us even have the joys of Brexit to contend with.

Is our role to focus on creating the jobs and the wealth that pays for all the services that society provides or to become lifestyle experience managers for our employees?

I am pretty sure that most comments will encourage me to do both, but I only have so many hours so what is the right balance.

Just trying to open a conversation about where the new boundaries should be between work and life and what our leadership role is in a hybrid world?

What do you think?

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