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Successful HR management in the world of work 4.0

02/05/2019 Employee Journey

Challenges for managers in the world of work 4.0

Numerous studies assume that existing potentials in companies cannot unfold or enter due to unsuitable executives, wrong leadership behaviour and unsuitable leadership styles. At worst, they leave the company completely. In the new age of work, the concept of leadership must give way to that of enabling people. Managers are required to perceive the employee with all his competences and to trust him at the same time. This not only promotes a sense of responsibility, but also self-confidence in the individual's own developed solutions. Hierarchies as they exist in line systems will increasingly dissolve. Functional and divisional organisational forms will promote communication within a workforce at eye level. The result of this is that the classic leadership role has become obsolete and the trend is moving more towards mixed manager teams (network leadership).

New management concepts view employees in their own holistic way. Both the values of the manager and the values of the employees, including the resulting emotions, play an increasingly important role. Further influences on everyday management life are more and more influenced by topics such as digitalisation, demography and diversity, democracy and dynamics.

Conventional organisation chart

Inspire your employees to follow you

The way within the newly developing world of work holds challenges for both managers and employees. The manager's task is not to minimise these challenges, but to become aware of them and to accompany each individual employee. At best, this works via a common learning path, which ensures that the skills and competencies of all participants continue to be applied. The integration of new digital applications requires a willingness to change and learn on the part of all participants. Taking employees with you therefore means, in addition to appropriate qualifications and training, also entering into dialogue again and again. No technology, app's or other applications in digital networks will replace this point, because this is the only way for managers to learn more about the issues that occupy and drive employees in their work. Personal interaction is the key to realizing the full potential of digitalization.

An equally important topic is generation management. There have always been different generations in companies, managing them requires knowledge about expectations, needs and wishes. In short, it requires leadership. Today, the representatives of the Y/Z generation and Best Agers meet. Both groups have different ideas about the work itself, the work environment, the work-life balance and how they want to be managed. But this diversity offers a lot of potential if it is valued and properly managed. Leadership amounts to picking everyone up where they stand, as individually as possible and not standardized. If management is also strength- and potential-oriented, every employee can play to his or her individual strengths to the advantage of the company, but above all to his or her own further development. Individuality then becomes apparent above all in individual development measures and working time models, which allow the world of work to be redesigned according to ideas or expectations.

Which leadership styles motivate employees?

In unison with the change of generations, the demands on superiors also change. This means, among other things, that the manager primarily helps his colleagues to be successful in their work. As a sparring partner and possibly as a coach, he or she takes on a new role that supports the team, provides advice and feedback and helps to overcome difficulties. At the same time, employees want to play a greater role in shaping and participating in decisions and not "just get them imposed from above". This pull leadership will prevail in the future. What it always ends up with, however, is quite simple - communication. However, developing this competence usually falls by the wayside. At the same time, the basis for this leadership is self-management and knowledge of one's own personality, drivers and values, because acting individually and appreciatively is easier with this awareness.

There are several leadership styles that release the existing potential of the employees.

Management by Objective…

... describes leading through target agreements, which the manager defines together with the colleague. MbO is in its form a transactional leadership and is based on the exchange of a superior with the employee. It holds out the prospect of a performance-related appreciation if the employee fulfils certain requirements. Here, too, it is important for the manager to know what the drivers of the employee are, because this is the only way that the remuneration for performance also boosts the motivation of the employee.

Management bei Exception…

... describes leading through situational intervention. Management bodies leave routine tasks to the responsible employees to decide on their own responsibility. Only in exceptional cases does the manager take the decision. Here, too, clear responsibilities, goals and target values are a prerequisite.

Management by Communication…

... describes leading through communication. Here, managers assume the role of an information broker. This style of leadership requires a horizontal and vertical exchange of information, which gives the individual employee the freedom to contribute his or her skills and demonstrate a willingness to take responsibility.

Management by Motivation…

... describes leadership through motivation. Monetary incentives are only attributed a short-term incentive function. In order to maintain motivation, other measures are used in this management style: greater independent responsibility on the part of the employee, participation in the goals to be achieved and more self-control. However, the incentives are very personal and therefore individual.

Management by Delegation…

... describes leadership by delegation of tasks. Routine, but also extensive tasks are transferred from the superior to one or more employees if they can be delegated. Scope and milestones are determined by the manager. After the delegation, the superior then merely takes over the performance review or is available for questions. Responsibility remains at the management level, but it should be noted that the right to issue instructions and the power of representation are also delegated to the employee.


Success in leadership cannot be broken down into one or two general criteria. Knowing oneself as a manager and working and interacting with one's own employees through awareness can be a first step. In any case, it is essential that managers and specialists have a willingness to learn and change and are given sufficient freedom to experiment in order to be able to develop new ideas and innovations. After all, lifelong learning will dominate our everyday working lives in the future. In the dynamic of the markets and of change through digitalisation and the like, mistakes must also be recognised as opportunities for improvement and this must also be recognised by the employees. In the same way, managers must be agile, regularly question their leadership behavior and react to situations. Are you involved in a change process and need an objective view of it? As a manager, do you see yourself confronted with the requirements and wishes of your employees and need support? ARTS will be pleased to accompany you along this path. Do you have any questions? Contact us right away.

Sources: springer.com | ingenieurversteher.de

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