What's next after New Work?

June 20, 2023

I was shown a lot of trust from an early age, and I show a lot of trust in my staff. In concrete terms, this means that I leave many decisions to them and that I like to talk to them when I have new ideas or want to change something.

Can I explain my idea to them at all? Or is it still so immature that I can't get it across? What do they think of the idea? What do they think about its feasibility? Do they have the same pain points as I do that make me think about changing it? Or would I be pushing through something that mainly concerns me (that is sometimes legitimate, too)? I get answers to these questions from my team and they help me in my work.

Set the goals, not the ways

As far as their work is concerned, I try to interfere as little as possible with how they do it. The goals are set and there is a set of rules for repetitive processes:

  • Internal written communication, for example, is exclusively in English, because each in our team is proficient in that language.
  • Each informs the team independently about absences during the day or over several days, because each can work when and where he/she wants. This means that we don't necessarily see it in the office - even less so since the pandemic - when someone is not there, and we don't have (core) working hours when everyone is there or online.
  • Everyone attends the morning standup to be informed about the current projects.

This list could be continued. It already shows what the rules are for. For a functioning team and to ensure that the freedoms of individuals do not have a negative impact on the team. If I can't be sure that I'm reaching my colleagues, I quickly lose interest in this kind of freedom.

Where do we stand with New Work?

A few years ago I was ridiculed for my leadership style. I don't know what my counterparts thought, but I sensed that they thought it was too "soft", too idealistic and too "feminine". Now it's mainstream - at least that's what many managers say they want. I ask myself:

  • Is it really being lived and what comes next?
  • Does everyone want to take responsibility? 
  • Are the different characters sufficiently taken into account so that they can perform at their best? 
  • What hierarchies are necessary, what can we do without? In agile projects, each:r works in a role regardless of whether he/she is a junior or senior. Project responsibility goes hand in hand with the role. Do we need anything at all in addition to these roles? And to what extent does it depend on the size of the company?

These are the questions I ask myself when I think about New Work. What do you think about how New Work can be developed further?

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