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Who is Responsible for Driving Talent When the Structure of Our Workforce Shifts?

As we head full force into the technological revolution where technology is transforming communications, creating more transparency in the spread of information, while simultaneously shifting the workforce as computers, robotics, and other inventions take on the work of people, there is also the projected disappearance of the middle manager.

Where once the middle manager could be looked at to inspire teams and oversee productivity, there is now a rise in flat organizations as well as the creation of more sophisticated roles while other positions are being mechanized.

With the loss of this position within organizations, are we also losing a vital source of inspiration and leadership for the typical employee?  Are we leaving a workforce without a level of leaders to push them further, to help discover their abilities, and help them to grow within company hierarchies?

Or with the added transparency of information, does this responsibility now transfer higher up in the chain?  Does it now become the responsibility of executive teams to be the direct mentors and guide posts for their entire workforce?

What is lost (and what is gained) when we begin to change the structure of our workforce and remove a level of leadership? What are we changing in how we manage our teams, motivate workers, and build a company culture?

Are we putting limits on the talent at hand by removing that layer of leadership?  Or are we placing more individual responsibility on our workforce to create their own opportunities and become self-sufficient in their engagement with their employers and their careers?

I pose all of these questions as food for thought.  Technology will only continue to rapidly transform the way we work and talent shortages have been projected for decades, and yet there seems to be no direct solution or answers even as the two parallel shifts work hand and hand to transform the way we work.

At the same time, everyone needs inspiration or motivation at some point in their careers to realize further potential they have.  Often this comes from a direct manager, but as middle managers begin to disappear from the workforce, is it up to the employee or the employer to push career growth to fill the gaps and talent shortages to come?

And, is this a part of the overall talent shortage that many organization no longer push internally for growth and development and rather seek out contract workers, competitor’s employees, and outside hires to attempt to fill the gaps to stay competitive.

Does this disappearance of the middle manager combined with the technological revolution create a limited workforce lacking in drive to push further, or does it create more freedoms for workers to explore and create their own limitless opportunities with the ability to reach higher within organizations and beyond?

Would love your thoughts on what you see happening, what you project, and how you see organizations learning to adapt to the shifts.

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