Relational management in the digital era – a reflection

Management relazionale nell’era digitale - una riflessione

Relational management in the digital era - a reflection

Technology and interpersonal skills are two dimensions that may seem very distant on the surface, but increasingly, in a constantly changing world of work, they need to intersect. In his reflection, Alberto Camuri, Executive Coach, highlights how when interpersonal relationships within companies seem to be becoming more rarefied, it is appropriate to keep people’s engagement high to ensure that relationships and human beings become the engine of everything within the organization.

We find ourselves in a transformative era, where the pervasive influence of digital technologies is reshaping the world of work, organizations, and even our everyday lives. The impact is profound and demands our attention.

As we navigate this evolution, it’s crucial to maintain a balanced perspective. Some may reminisce about the past, while others eagerly embrace the future. However, it’s essential to pause, reflect, and connect the past, present, and future. Only then can we comprehensively assess the benefits and risks of these changes.

Embracing change and riding the associated opportunities implies awareness. It means being attentive, curious, observing, listening, and being able to pick up on signals, even weak ones. I want to share some thoughts on a point whose awareness I believe is strategic.

It seems that today, the evolution of digital technologies and their diffusion is obscuring or at least reducing attention, caught in the whirlpool of doing and technology, towards the centrality of the human being for the success or otherwise of an organization in its path of development and growth.

Nothing could be more wrong, in my opinion.

Today, more than ever, if we want to exploit technology, management must pay attention to the enhancement of the human element, to the creation of work environments that, while becoming increasingly virtual, stimulate a strong sense of engagement, that are environments in which to realize that fullness of life that cannot be separated from the profound bond with others, from mutual recognition, from having goals and aims that can give meaning to lives in the world of work, environments in which one can ‘breathe’ trust and psychological security. 

Management relazionale nell’era digitale - una riflessione

Engagement is the level at which a person feels involved in their work and the organization to which they belong. Engaged people work passionately, feel connected to the organization, are proactive, contribute to organizational improvement and the improvement of their personal and professional experience, and are innovative and future-oriented.

Being innovative and future-oriented is not just a choice, but a necessity in a time when changes are continuous, less predictable, and obsolescence is fast. The complexity of the modern world requires the contribution of everyone and no longer just a few thinking heads. It necessitates environments characterized by collaboration, the comparison and sharing of knowledge and ideas, and the desire to experiment without fear of error. This is not just a call for change but a demand for survival in the ever-evolving business landscape.

If we examine the data on engagement in the Italian workplace, we see that we face a problem.

According to Gallup’s ‘State of The Global Workplace 2023‘, the level of engagement at work in Italy is the lowest in Europe, with only 5% of those at work being engaged. This means that 95% are not involved. Another indicator that should make us reflect is the increasingly widespread phenomenon of quiet quitting, the tendency to do the bare minimum: an indicator that the world of work has changed, and priorities have changed as well.

Without wasting time in discussing too much about numbers or percentages, we must recognize that this is an area that urgently needs to be addressed, that from a problem, it can become a great opportunity if we know how to combine and harmonize the effects of technological evolution with the effects of a managerial approach that is attentive to relationality, to enhancing and building solid, real and trust-based relationships with collaborators.

We need to build solid relationships with the awareness that the virtual does not replace the real but can enrich it. Enrichment is a consequence of managerial sensitivity and attention.

We must, therefore, recognize that more and more, in addition to hard skills, soft skills make a real difference in management. Emotional and relational skills and abilities are required for healthy governance in the digital age, which needs great proactivity and flexibility from the entire organization.

People need to feel recognized and listened to to think they are there. They need support in answering questions of meaning, sharing and intertwining their life projects with the organization’s projects, and all this requires relational attention—an even more ‘attentive’ attention if we consider the fact that many generational clusters now coexist in organizations, each with its own specificity, different values, and worldviews.

Management relazionale nell’era digitale - una riflessione

Communication, channels, and digital modes of interaction are important, but they cannot and must not replace in-person relationships. In a world that runs and never has time, one must find time to be ‘human’.

Self-awareness is a powerful tool, but it’s not enough. It’s the first step towards taking responsibility for our personal growth and development. By committing to this journey and taking action, we empower ourselves to make a real difference. This process is further enhanced by the practice of reflexivity and experiential learning.

In the maelstrom of everyday life, this implies prioritizing oneself and dedicating space to enhance and act on one’s emotional and relational skills and abilities.

An attentive Management is a Management that feels its managerial and existential responsibility towards its employees.

If we think of the various relational behavioural skills, interpersonal communication competence (in particular listening), interpersonal sensitivity, and a sense of team are priorities to build strong bonds, interconnect, and stimulate a sense of belonging by enhancing each individual’s contribution.

The people most satisfied with their workplaces showed a relationship with management characterized by frequent in-person contacts, a genuine interest in getting to know each other, involving everyone and helping them develop despite all the things to be done, despite the time that never seems enough.

In conclusion, let us periodically put ourselves in the mirror, question ourselves on how we govern our relational behavioural competencies and work on maintaining and enhancing them cyclically and continuously. Increasingly, these are and will be required in the digital world and will enable us never to forget that human resources are people, each with their specificities, values, dreams, and relationship needs. 

Technology is a tool and cannot replace us.



Ricevi la