Management is dead – Longlive being a manager

From conversing with colleagues, peers and friends about management challenges, it strikes me that all issues they and I cite are not captured in any real definition of management that I can find either in traditional textbooks or even online.

Lets check out a definition or two:

  • Management: the acts of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives.
  • Management = planning, organising, staffing, leading or directing…all with the aim of achieving a goal.

Sounds all good to me, very helicopter view like. Simple in fact.

Yet my issue is that you can and must add another couple of lines to define modern management. Vernacular like “doing”, “executing”, “deciding” would certainly be present in my definition.

I have written about the challenges of building team morale when people work in silos. Silos are a natural by-product of a person’s skill sets being increasingly specialist.

When you coach individuals in this increasingly common scenario you find yourself leading/guiding/directing on matters you ultimately do not understand as well or in as much detail as your subdorinates. Those who cannot do, teach.

Let us reverse engineer that.

Siloed yet highly skilled individual, “Hey boss can you advise me on whether I should do ‘A’ or ‘B’?”

General experienced boss, “Hmm, would you mind explaining what ‘A’ and ‘B’ are”

30min later….boss declares, “Fascinating, really learned something there. What was the question again?”

Siloed individual, “Which one should I do ‘A’ or ‘B’?”

boss, “What do you think?”

Not uncommon methinks…

So today managers are doers or they are dinosaurs. That is, threatened by extinction. You learn by doing. The challenge is then a manager who is willing to listen and learn from his team becomes a very bad parent. Time management suffers as tasks like emails and reading relevant articles on the web are completed  in the evening while their individual team members clock out on time.

I would volunteer that if you are a manager today who manages to work the same hours as your team, you are either incredibly gifted in which case send me your contact details or you are a poor manager.  Poor in the sense that you make decisions on things you do not understand (put it all on black)  with no desire to learn more.

Being a poor Time Manager or gambling with being found out as ignorant on matters you are responsible for seems to be the choice these days.

Ben

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