Marriam Webster defines a hall monitor as an individual who watches the hallways for bad behavior. Quite often, employees feel as though their manager acts as a “hall monitor” in their workspace; ensuring that office gossip is kept to a minimum, cellphones are not in use, and most importantly, that work is being accomplished so that in turn, the “hall monitor” will be able to present to their own boss the finished product of their team’s hard work. In other words, often, management styles in corporate America revolve around “getting it done,” taking credit for teamwork or placing blame on team members.
However, amongst the COVID-19 Pandemic, things are about to change. In fact, they already have. “Hall monitoring” remotely is nearly impossible. Managers cannot see if you are on your phone or socializing with friends while working. Thus, if managers want to keep their position, they must alter their role in the workspace.
Enter the Modern Manager. The “modern manager” is not going to be assessed based upon their ability to intimidate and place the blame upon team members, but they will be assessed based upon the ability to provide their employees with the skills and tools that they will need to successfully complete their jobs: I.e., making each of their employees valuable.
The ability to supply their employees with the skills and tools that will allow them to succeed is what ultimately defines the “modern manager.” In practice, the “modern manager” makes a good worker a great worker, and an okay worker a good worker. They do not simply hold their workers static in their abilities by merely “hall monitoring” and ensuring that their workers are sitting at their desk from 9-5, “working,” and refraining from any missteps in the workplace.
This is a positive trend in corporate America and will especially benefit those who are just joining the workforce. As an Atlantic article points out, when previous generations entered corporate America, many felt as though they had to learn the ropes of their job on their own, and be their own cheerleader, on top of working their regular 9 to 5 shift. To these entry level employees, their manager just served as a figure who was making sure they were at work every day, from 9 to 5, sometimes longer: a “hall monitor”. As the article continues to state, in the past, corporate America “equated ‘getting the most out of someone’ with ‘getting the most hours out of them’ rather than getting the most value out of them.” Individuals in entry level positions were viewed as work horses, who didn’t really require much guidance and would sooner or later find their own way in the industry.
However, as we change the way we view the role of managers, as a workforce, we will realize that a focus on control over employees does not necessarily equate to success but fostering their growth will. It is those who do foster this growth that will prove to be a good, “modern manager.”