The future for Local Government, the NHS and the Civil Service is uncertain as a consequence your career prospects as a manger are unclear. When the restructuring, outsourcing and downsizing is finished will you be a survivor or a casualty? When the music stops how can you ensure you have a chair?
The winner in any game of musical chairs has to be fast on their feet, able to anticipate what going to happen and not leave the outcome to luck. In this case fast on your feet means appreciating that you have transferable skills and being quick to see who these might be applied to a different client group or in a new service. The successful manager will anticipating the increased spans of responsibility in the new structure and will not restrict their opportunities by seeking a job that is as close to their existing one as possible. Instead they will present themselves as an individual who can manage across services, manage people from different professional back grounds and can cope with not knowing the detail.
Organisations should invest in their managers if they want these changes to work but winners don’t wait to see if there will be lucky and get a place on a management development programme they take responsibility for their own development. Through management learning sets and mentoring a manager can explore a range of typical management issues, think about how their behaviour affects others and identify the type of leadership behaviour their organisation is seeking to encourage. Armed with this information they are well prepared for a job interview.
Finally and most important they will recognise that the organisation needs managers with leadership skills able to keep staff motivated and customers satisfied in the new climate of austerity and uncertainty. The best way to demonstrate these skills is to be able to draw on the experience of the way they successfully restructured or out sourced their service, dealt with the fallout from redundancies and addressed issues of team moral as staff are forced to compete for fewer posts.
Blair McPherson is author of Equipping Managers for an Uncertain Future published by Russell House. www.blairmcpherson.co.uk