How to be a good manager in the New World of Work?

Lior Frenkel,
Entrepreneur & Exec. Product Management Advisor

"My interest in the New World of Work comes, like many good things, from a personal experience. Until I was 30, I was the prospect of any Jewish-Polish mother - Atudai, Technion, army service, officer, high-tech - product and system engineer… but still, I wasn’t feeling well mentally. It started with my body because I'm a rationalist, so it takes me a while to feel what's going on, and I went through some sort of internal crisis."

After a year of treatment, Lior realized how much he was acting from a place of serving others, and had distanced himself from everything that brought him real pleasure. But it took more time to implement his new insights about himself.

In his first startup he was the CTO and spent most of his time programming, a role he now understands doesn't suit him, and doesn't make him feel fulfilled. Everywhere he went he made a small step forward, some form of getting closer to who he is and who he wants to be - this refinement is a muscle. Observing and understanding what I connect with, what is accurate for me, requires training. Even later, when we have an answer, it is not enough - we also need to act from it, to respect the resolution we generated from within ourselves and to manifest it in our lives.

Lior shares that it took him another 3 years to complete the process of self reflection and implementation. At the age of 30, he decided that his current life doesn’t suit him any more. He wants to build something of his own. In the last year of his first startup , they started running out of money, and Lior also started working as a freelancer to be able to pay rent, while he built his vision for the startup with his partners. 

"I discovered a new world - suddenly I was working with a team from all over the world, we were doing asynchronous work, projects worth tens of thousands of dollars for clients, some of whom I had never met. My mind just exploded."

His second startup was about helping freelancers and since then he continues to dive deeper into this world. The question that was occupying his mind again and again was - what does it actually mean to be in the New World of Work?

As someone who worked half a week on his startup, and the other half as a freelancer, he experienced, firsthand, the wonderful and challenging parts of the New World of Work, and had to learn how to navigate within it. Once again he was in the process of observing, what does he like? What is he passionate about?. He connected the dots and realized what was common to all the projects to which he said 'yes' - building the bridge between the Old World and the New World.

"I focused more on the employees - how we as humans who travel around the world can find work in the new world. How can we find a job with more meaning, how to balance how much money I will get with how much meaning I have and how much I enjoy which in the past was even forbidden to talk about but today it is allowed. Additionally, since employees have changed - what does that say about the managers in the new world? Suddenly you get into very difficult dilemmas." 

Today it has become a popular topic, and we are all familiar with these dilemmas one way or another. We have to navigate a world whose laws we have not learned - which has changed and continues to change, and within it we also need to understand what we believe in and what is our agenda when it comes to work. Lior talks about a conversation he had on his podcast with Prof. Dan Arieli, who talked about an index he is trying to promote - the Human Capital Index. He said that after collecting extensive and systematic information, they saw that companies that invest in their human capital, for example : giving autonomy, developing employees, - are more successful in the long run.

But doing that is not simple. There is a lot of pressure on managers from different directions, and they need to know how to deal with it while executing on their goals and tasks. And at the same time, they also need to take care of the employees - this is a complex task. Lior experienced this again and again, and over time, he created anchors that helped him navigate:

1. Long term vs. short term - if you look at things only from a short term perspective, you will only make decisions from a short sighted point of view -

"When you make short term decisions, you may solve the crisis, but the price you pay is that your good employees leave. Then the crisis is over and you are back into the routine, but you don't have time for the routine - because you have to invest a lot of time in recruiting new employees. Also, when the new crisis comes - you now have employees who are not as experienced, and the ship is unstable. It can be an avalanche."

2. Relationships - relationships take time to build, and for it to succeed you must know how to give and receive -

"I discovered that when I nurture the relationship, when employees know that my intentions are pure and I have proven it time after time, when a crisis comes - they are ready to hang in there with you, to waive all the small indulgences - because you were there for them first." This is double-sided loyalty, which creates shared responsibility.

The first basic thing that Lior learned in building relationships is to explain before each task - why are we doing it -

"this feeling of understanding why I do something is very significant. Of course, there is also a downside to this - you chose to hire smart, critical thinking people, and they don't always agree with what you say, and now you need to hold a discussion - but I endure it and explain to them why, because otherwise I'm once again playing the short-term game."

A new book Lior has written speaks exactly to this important subject - "The Handbook for the New Manager". When he talks about this topic, you can see the sparkle in his eyes and the passion he has for it, as someone who was a manager and also experienced and heard about managers who made life difficult for their employees, sometimes even without knowing it. Being a New Manager is not about how old you are, but who your role models were, and how open minded you are. 

"Managing in the New World requires a lot of work - but what employees need today is a new type of managers. Furthermore - what organizations need today to retain employees, are those new managers."


- Link to podcast episode with Dan Arieli: https://frnkl.co/blog-podcast/200-dan-ariely/

- Link to Leadership and the One Minute Manager book: https://www.amazon.com/Leadership-Minute-Manager-Updated-Effectiveness/dp/0062309447

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