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Covid-19: a before and after for managers


A boss receives an employee. Illustrative photo. (JAMES HARDY / MAXPPP)

There will undoubtedly be a change in the way you run a business. We interviewed a sociologist and a work psychologist and both say there will be no going back. But for which managers? Which managers were most affected by the crisis?

For François Dupuy, who carried out fieldwork in April in nine very large companies and one local authority, a scientific work which led him to conduct some 600 interviews, the big winners of this crisis are local managers. . They are the ones who ensured the continuity of the activity and took care of the physical and moral health of their teams. And they did it in total autonomy. For the sociologist, who has just published We do not change companies by decree, at the Threshold, they even did so by adopting a strategy of “organizational disobedience”.

In many companies, the crisis has led the “support functions” at head office to lay down more and more standards and processes. According to François Dupuy, the local managers who have succeeded in their mission – and for him, it is the vast majority – have done so by freeing themselves from these standards. And by sending a message to their teams: “We’re all in the same boat”. But beware, this maverick strategy, local managers pay for it with significant exhaustion.

This is the opinion of work psychologist Christophe Nguyen, of the firm Empreinte humaine. For him, remote work may have revealed among supervisors a tendency to “micro-management“, to fussy control. A tendency clearly rejected by employees in this period of crisis. Employees in strong quest for autonomy. To the point precisely that, for managers, manage this rejection of reporting, this demand for autonomy or even he independence may have turned out to be exhausting, and as a result, like François Dupuy, Christophe Nguyen believes that managers are more in psychological distress than others.

The two observers agree in saying that, faced with more united teams – this is a side effect of the crisis – the executives will no longer be able to exercise their mission as before. In particular by taking more account of the personal constraints encountered by their employees.

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