HR Management & Compliance

Radical Shifts Coming for Management—Will You Be Prepared?

Marcus Buckingham, well-known and respected speaker and author of books such as Now Break All the Rules and Stand Out shared three radical shifts that are coming for management.

Buckingham’s comments came at the Society for Human Resources Management’s (SHRM) Annual Conference and Exposition, held recently in Las Vegas. He outlines the three most important trends for the next five years:

The focus will change from:

  • The organization to the team leader
  • Big data to real-time, reliable data
  • Leadership to what the best leaders actually do

What’s the scoop with Millennial leaders? Find out on Tuesday, September 15, 2015, with a new interactive webinar, Next-Generation Leadership: Three Proven Ways to Strengthen Your Leadership Bench. Learn More

1. From the Organization to the Team Leader

How is it that different entities—departments, teams, stores, branches, etc.—operating under the same policies with the same training and the same local economic situations can achieve vastly varying results? It’s the team leader, says Buckingham.

Unfortunately, we’re not geared to helping team leaders, he says. Our HR tools (like learning management systems and performance management systems) are for the organization, not for the team leader.

Team leaders should be asking three questions:

  • What are the strengths of my people?
  • What are my people doing?
  • How are my people feeling?

Unfortunately, says Buckingham, “The company that knows most about your employees is LinkedIn.”

Ideally, we will have tools that reveal reliable performance and engagement data in real time. Once you have that, you can fuel performance and engagement for the future instead of focusing on past performance.

2. From Big Data to Real-Time Reliable Data

Most data are bad, says Buckingham. For example, with performance management, we act on the premise that we can trust one person to rate another.

One significant study on feedback, which involved 4,492 ratees and 25,000 raters (500,000 ratings), revealed some disturbing results. Evaluation showed that:

  • 17% of the rating was related to the ratee’s general performance;
  • 8% was due to the ratee’s dimensional performance;
  • 13% was due to measurement error;
  • 8% was due to rater perspective; and
  • 54% was due to idiosyncratic rater effect (the evaluation mirrors the rater rather than the ratee).

In total, about 62% of the rating was about the rater. In other words, says Buckingham, this wasn’t a window, it was a mirror! The ratings were more about the rater than the ratee.

What about 360-degree programs? Instead of one piece of bad datum, now you have six pieces of bad data, Buckingham says.

And, once you have that bad data at the beginning, all downstream actions are going to be based on bad data.

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What We Need to Do

Buckingham suggests that we need to work to:

  • Decide what to do with each person in the company;
  • Create a natural, unforced range of data; and
  • Reveal this range’s reliability, which would solve for idiosyncratic rater effects.

3. From Leadership to What the Best Leaders Actually Do

Leadership is a relatively vague term. In the future, we will be more focused on what the best leaders actually do. How do we find that out? We ask, says Buckingham. Here are the factors that workers rank as valuable.





I am really enthusiastic about mission of my company. At work, I clearly know what is expected of me.


On my team, I am surrounded by people who share my values. I have a chance to use my strengths every day at work*.


Teammates have my back. I know I will be recognized for excellent work.


I have great confidence in the organization’s future. In my work, I am always challenged to grow.

*This factor is the best predictor in every country, says Buckingham.

So what should your ritual for performance management be? The key is frequent, strength-based evaluation of short-term activities. Two questions can do the job, Buckingham says:

  • What are your priorities, and
  • How can I help you?

Final Tip

There are no perfect people, says Buckingham; there is no perfect profile. Only perfect practices that fit your profile. HR, get out of the profile business, Buckingham says.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, tips on confidence and negotiation from Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, plus an introduction to Next-Generation Leadership: Three Proven Ways to Strengthen Your Leadership Bench.