The Changing Face of Middle Management: Breaking New Ground

On this episode of Breaking New Ground, Host Joel Pennington talked with Radha Mistry, a digital native who spends her time intuiting what our future, both digital and physical, will look like. She also leads the foresight practice at Autodesk and teaches as part-time faculty on the MFA Transdisciplinary Design program at The New School (Parsons).

The middle manager is dead. Long live the middle manager. Those are two conflicting ideologies, but truthfully, middle management has changed quite a bit. Non-digital natives are at the end of the career, while digital natives are taking their place. These things are going to have a major impact on the workforce moving forward.

“I also think the way people learn is going to change in those environments,” Mistry explained, “because you have an emerging generation of middle managers who are used to hopping on YouTube, checking Instagram, learning something from a video tutorial, hitting up their friends across the world for something … they haven’t grown up in these silos, essentially, due to physical proximity.”

There is a level of culture and world fluency where technology isn’t the inhibitor. Those who grew up with technology understand that it changes quickly. Middle managers are no longer using the same tech or methods for long periods. Instead, they are having to pivot and constantly adjust to new tech.

“We’ve kind of grown up and got used to the fact that technology changes at intervals,” Mistry said. “And so now we have this, what I’m finding, is folks are really innovating and finding new modes of inspiration, new ways of learning, new ways of connecting, and finding it in unlikely places.”

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