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Education Professor Interviews on WebTalkRadio
Michael Kroth, assistant professor in adult and organizational learning and leadership and co-author of the new book, “Managing the Mobile Workforce,” was recently interviewed by talk radio host Nan Russell of WebTalkRadio.net. On the station, Russell educates her audience about work matters. She believes that jobs should be about becoming all we’re capable of becoming.
That’s where Kroth steps in. As the author of several books on leadership and management as well as instructor of the class Future of Education and Work at the U of I Boise Center, he is tuned-in to the world of work.
In Managing the Mobile Workforce, Kroth and co-author David Clemons explore ways to create a zealous and productive mobile work force. “The definition of a mobile worker is broad, and there are about a billion of them,” says Kroth. “How different does this look for managers? While technology has allowed us to work mobile, it doesn’t necessarily make good leaders good. The principles for good leadership remain the same.”
Trust is obviously a big part of mobile work partnerships. Kroth and Clemons interviewed Stephen Covey about the trust factor, noting that the fear from a manager’s point of view is that the employee is sipping a margarita a half a continent away while the work they’ve been assigned is not getting done.
“Setting expectations and accountability are important early on in the relationship,” said Kroth. “But there’s another side to the equation. The manager also needs to understand that the 24/7mobile worker needs to become inaccessible at times, taking time off to renew and refresh.”
Kroth calls the mobile workforce a free agent workforce, or a results-oriented workforce, opening up global opportunities to meet the workforce demand for talent.
“For workers, the downside is you’re competing with a lot more people,” says Kroth, “but the emphasis should always be about becoming the best worker you can possibly be. There’s always going to be a need for the best worker. If you’re the best at what you do, you will have a lot of options.”
Kroth noted during the interview that writing Managing the Mobile Workforce was a big paradigm shift for him. “During one interview I learned about a voice communication device that changes the way people work—it allows them to communicate as a group at any time. It can actually change the work itself. I also learned that the first transatlantic surgery took place when the surgeon was in New York and the patient in France. The work and the worker no longer need to be in the same place. The possibilities for that paradigm are endless.”
Technology changes quickly, as well as the way we think about how to work. “In the online game World of Warcraft, thousands of people get together each evening and set up teams, requiring cooperation,” says Kroth. “They have to work things out and participate or they won’t be chosen as part of a team. The same principle holds true for virtual mobile work teams.”
To find out more about Michael Kroth, his work, and his books, visit michaelkroth.com and managingthemobileworkforce.com.