SuperHumain Leadership : an alternative to rejuvenate the Future of Work...

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by - Alan Caugant, CEO SUPERHUMAIN™

Nowadays, the future of work is a trendy topic. From professional seminars to transformation consulting firms, events and media dedicated to it, it is impossible to escape the "future of work" phenomenon. However, the future of work has so far remained a vague and even rather disappointing idea for our current and future generations. So how working tomorrow i.e. how each gesture, each work action, must and can transform the real impact of an organization?

An anxiety-provoking competition towards the victory of Burn-out...

For the time being, we can say that the multiple mutations within the professional world tend to oppose each other in an anxiety-provoking competition. "Baby boomers vs. millennials", "employees vs. entrepreneurs", "end of the month vs. end of the world", "men vs. women", "robots vs. humans"...

From a macroeconomic point of view, we also note that the management of recent economic and social crises (subprimes, yellow jackets, pensions) have placed immediacy and speed at the center of our lives. How many last-chance summits, ministerial meetings and international institutions have ended in agreements in the middle of the night, at the very last minute!

And yet, the International Labor Organization already said a hundred years ago, in the preamble to its constitution, "a lasting and universal peace can only be founded on the basis of social justice". ».

As far as companies are concerned, the ones we hear most about today are those that aim to perpetually reduce waiting times and fully satisfy our desire for immediacy. Amazon, Uber, Deliveroo... always faster! "Anything. Anywhere. Anytime": that's Amazon's promise. Anything, anywhere, anytime. It's no longer the big one eating the little one, but the fast one eating the slow one.

And finally, within the company itself, speed is a major influence. Responsiveness is as important as activity, one e-mail chases another, one emergency chases another. Common expressions in the business world such as "ASAP" (as soon as possible), "Get back to me ASAP" or "I need it yesterday" when you ask about a deadline, are not insignificant. They reflect the pressure of the immediate.

This crisis is linked to this general feeling of loss of reference points in postmodern society. What is the human person in a business world characterized by competition? Today's society has created a world in which an accomplished person is an individual who takes care of himself first, works a lot and consumes a lot.

But in recent years, a gigantic human crisis has gradually taken hold in the workplace.

Nowadays, a set of facts at European level about occupational health can alarm us, as they have been measured and studied for several decades. Thus in 2018:

  • • 54% of workers no longer feel recognized in France (Anact, 2018);
  • • 10.5% of Germans have already gone through a burnout situation;
  • • 96% of Portuguese felt depersonalized at work (Eurofound, 2018);
  • • 35% of Belgians are stressed at work (Ugent, 2018).


Today, it is both managers and entrepreneurs who are running out of steam in a world of acceleration, or even a triple acceleration: technological, social change and life rhythms that are eroding our bearings and our desire to be anchored in society.

The loss of meaning as a symptom of work burnout

As mentioned earlier, not enough is said about the suffering of managers at work. Silent suffering, because a manager's mission is to create unity, to coordinate, to transmit energy. But above all, like most sufferings at work, this suffering is caused by the loss of meaning.

Questioning meaning at work also means talking about employee motivation. This directly involves the skills that the worker thinks he or she is mobilizing, the purpose of the work, but also the feeling of self-fulfillment and identity.

At the beginning of the 2020s, work is no longer organized as it was in the 19th century. Organization is no longer a unity of place, time and action: "I go to the office"; that is to say, a more or less established schedule, a unique workplace, and a sustainable (de)finite activity.

Work organization can no longer be described as "bureaucratic" in the Weberian sense; management and its models of competence, talent management, monitoring, etc., which developed in the 1980s to 2000, no longer necessarily meet the challenges of our time.

However, in our management and teaching, we continue to refer to Maslow's pyramid of needs, McGregor's X and Y theories, Porter's and Lawler's scheme.

But we must remember that each era generates the theories it needs to remedy the difficulties it encounters.

In addition, the expectations we have of our work and the place it occupies in our lives have also evolved over the last twenty years.

Today, suffering in the workplace justifies a managerial invention in order to restore meaning to work where it no longer exists and to reconcile the individual and the organization.

The Human Resources Manager: a serious alternative to well-being in the workplace

Let's not forget that the etymological meaning of "manager" is to hold in hand; we orient them, guide them, encourage them, coach them, stimulate them. Without this, they are reduced to being only objects among others, on which the violence of the current economic and financial forces is currently raining down.

It is important to give human resources management back its meaning and raison d'être, and to those who are in charge of developing these resources, i.e. managers, to renew their understanding of their mission and responsibilities.

As I understand it, management is human because it is work that is the key to creating economic value.

It is important to give back the dignity to which each person aspires and which needs recognition, intelligible commitments, space for creativity, solidarity and cooperation among colleagues, but also organizational justice.

For me, humanizing work is key to the future of the company, to recover what is human, in the work itself, including the work of the manager.

It is therefore a question of having benevolence as a civic stance against dehumanizing management.

We must adhere to and contribute to building a morality, an ethic that allows the members of a community to be recognized as such and to live together. These agreements are collective and affirm a kind of moral judgment on what is good and just. bon and juste.

It's a bit of a role reversal: don't expect others to be benevolent, but be certain that you are expected to be benevolent. The leader or manager has the virtue of setting an example, advocating mutual trust and respect.

The purpose of human resource management is recognition, it is existential and linked to the effort and investment in work as much as to the result. But recognition is intimately linked to the human being.

In conclusion...

The future is not fixed. The urgency is therefore not to resign ourselves, nor to suffer, but to act, to experiment and to give ourselves the means to build the world of work we want for the generations of tomorrow.

Furthermore, I am convinced that intelligence with one's employees, becomes and will become a major asset to ensure the growth of an organization, whereas the current competition presupposes victory, and victory presupposes that the race will one day end well.

It is therefore important to create, starting today, the methods, projects and training that will enable everyone to develop their ability to grasp and act on their environment.