Modern work demands inclusivity and collaboration across wide stakeholder groups, which requires a new model of leadership. Traditional management is in crisis, and every company needs to invest in facilitative leadership methods. With a workforce more physically spread out than ever, needing to solve more complex problems than ever, the leaders need to reinvent themselves completely. I think we’ll see whole new types of management teams working very differently in the future than what we see now.

When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.

As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Daniel Monthan.

Daniel Monthan is the CEO of Howspace Scandinavia and the co-lead of People and Culture at Howspace. Daniel has a strong passion for people development and helping organizations and individuals thrive. With 10+ years of experience in leadership consulting, coaching, and organizational development, along with comprehensive knowledge in tech, Daniel combines the human elements with tech solutions to meet the future of work’s challenges.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?

Thanks for having me! Sure. I have always been heavily involved in sports from a very young age. I started doing Judo when I was seven, and since then, I’ve pretty much tried every sport possible, from archery, soccer, badminton, basketball, boxing, and more, to eventually focus mainly on Handball (a Nordic fast-paced, athletic team sport). The starting point for my interest in leadership and organizational development came after taking the role as a trainer at the early age of 14, becoming a board member at 18, and later working as Head of Development at 23. In sports, there is a strong and clear connection between you as a coach and the development on the court or in the club, and how all team players have a vital part in the success of the group. I learned so much about how to help an individual or team to grow, different motivational drivers, how organizations work, building winning cultures, and so much more. This was my foundation for many years to come.

Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce, and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?

Human nature does not change very fast, so I think the human-centric parts of work-life that are on a strong rise, like the need for stronger purpose and meaning in work-life and individuals wanting to see how their role creates a bigger impact, will most certainly remain. Related to that, I believe that in 10–15 years, the mindset of “humans as machines” is finally coming to an end. Instead, we will see more participatory leadership, collaboration, and inclusion on all levels. This leads to less hierarchy, continuous learning, and shared decision-making.

What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?

Learn how to learn fast. We know now that the number one factor for an organization’s ability to survive is that they are able to learn. And we can also see that 50% of all jobs will be replaced by automation or AI, and the other 50% will change as a result. This means that 100% of all employees will have a need for up-skilling or re-skilling.

What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?

The next generation of employees is much more willing to move around — the locations in which they work as well as also trying different jobs, different companies or industries. This will pressure all employers to have structure to coup with this. For example, maybe don’t have strict role descriptions, so people have the room and possibility to try different things within the workplace.

We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?

I think we still are in the middle of learning how working from home should be done to make the best of it. Where and when do we leverage the most out of working from home, and what new demands does this work environment put on us as individuals and organizations. There are for sure also situations and occasions where getting together is the best way, but we still need to learn when that is.

We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?

Shared dialogue and co-creation is crucial for engagement, transformation and achieving results. There is no one person, political party, or government that will find a one-size-fits-all solution for the complex and constant change that faces us. We need to be better at building mechanisms that help us have real dialogue and understand each other better, not just on the organizational level but on a societal level.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

That we are constantly evolving as humans and as a society. Our work life is much better today than 100 years ago, and wouldn’t it be strange if we were so narrow-minded that we think we have hit our peak already?

Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?

First, I think many employers need to change how they look at employees. We need to see them much more as a whole person and not as a work resource. Let our personal life slip into our work life and not only the other way around, which is quite common. A full-time job is a huge part of your life.

At the same time, the way we work with digital tools needs to change, from flooding us with notifications and distractions and maximizing the time we spend on them, to providing meaningful environments where we can really get things done together.

It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?

That there is no going back to the way the world was a few years ago. The freedom employees have gotten can not be taken away — we just need to focus on building an organizational culture that takes care of both people and the results in the new reality. People are less loyal to their employees in a world where the physical connection to work is weaker than it used to be, and at the same time, it’s an employees market in a lot of industries. This just means that workplaces and leaders need to earn their trust and show that they are worthy of the employees’ time and attention every day of every week.

Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”

  1. Modern work demands inclusivity and collaboration across wide stakeholder groups, which requires a new model of leadership.

Traditional management is in crisis, and every company needs to invest in facilitative leadership methods. With a workforce more physically spread out than ever, needing to solve more complex problems than ever, the leaders need to reinvent themselves completely. I think we’ll see whole new types of management teams working very differently in the future than what we see now.

2. All human brains + machines are needed for progress.

The development of AI in decision-making has been very focused on building models and predictions based on quantitative data. To solve the biggest problems facing our society, like climate change and the glooming mental health crisis, we need to be able to utilize the creativity, sense-making, and reflection of humans in combination with AI analyses based on both qualitative and quantitative data.

3. The future of work is remote/hybrid, and it’s currently making us more effective but lonely and less creative.

I’m constantly reading articles about remote working increasing a sense of loneliness. It also leads to doing the tasks effectively without distractions, but it does not foster spontaneous connections and creative problem solving together with others. We’ll see a lot of services and platforms helping to solve this huge issue in the future, Howspace being one of them.

4. Digital platforms must do more.

In an increasingly digital work-life, digital and mobile platforms must provide more than one-way communications and a constant flow of disruptions in order to impact experience, engagement and produce tangible results.

5. Companies and brands must have and prove purpose.

Employees and stakeholders expect a new era of meaning, action and transparency. We’ll see a lot of companies building impact models and re-creating their core business to become more purpose-driven.

I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?

There is only one “life lesson” speech that really got to me. It’s the Australian comedian Tim Minchin — 9 Life Lessons. Google it — it’s 12 minutes well invested and plenty of good laughs. He manages to combine humor with a very specific and real-life view of what actually happens in most of our lives — not some unachievable vision and impossible standards to live by.

Another one that I’m afraid I can’t recall exactly who said it, but I heard it during a seminar on “The future of leadership”. It goes somewhat like this: “Julius Cesar knew that if you give trust, show respect and encourage your soldiers, they will thrive. So, “the future of leadership” isn’t actually that new, it’s always about the people under the armor.”

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.

I wouldn’t mind having a cup of coffee with Simon Sinek to talk about involvement, co-creation, and the power of dialogue.

Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?

The best way to get in contact with me is on LinkedIn or shoot me an email. I’m always up for a virtual coffee or an interesting conversation.

Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.