This is going to be another short post as it is something I have said before. Several times. And I likely even wrote about it before on a different blogging system. It’s about managerial roles. What is, for me, the most important role of a manager.
I like to think that there is a dying breed of thought. I like to think that there are fewer people who think of the following around than the common anecdote would have us believe. And that is the apocryphal manager, be they line, middle or CEO. They are the ‘Captain of the Ship’, or more likely the bosun. The non-strategic planner. The ‘go to’ person. The manger who makes sure the orders from up high, or any executive decision, are passed to the right underling for completion.
To many, the line, middle, office and even directors become an extraneous person that companies have so that someone can get their hands dirty with all that bossing around, spending allowances and sometimes (when there are no HR people to shunt the work onto) hiring and firing.
If you are doing this role as a manager, if you feel this is the ultimate goal, to be the leader, I pity you. But, I am not going to forgive you as you shouldn’t be doing it, well not in that way and it isn’t for me your primary purpose.
My View of the Manager
The role of a manager is many fold, in smaller companies it shifts and flips around a lot but has less weight/responsibility, in larger companies more fixed but with greater influence.
But they are the same.
The real role is not to create a work environment, or dictate an environment, sure they might be a need for this, but isn’t just the role of the manager. It isn’t to order, or control, to lead or direct, sure they might be a part of the job for some managers but it shouldn’t be ‘just’ their (or their only) job.
What I mean is that you help those things to be achieved. You guide them all to happening. So, don’t order, ask. Don’t control, facilitate. Don’t lead, inspire others to follow. Don’t direct, guide, and do it on request. I can add more but I think you get my point.
The role of a manager is to foster an environment in which all those good things should thrive. You don’t do that from the top, or being out in front on display as a figurehead. In fact I feel that you do your best work from the bottom of the hierarchy. By being at the lowest layer and doing the jobs that no one really wants to do. Don’t be shy of getting your hands into the lowest menial task so that others do not have to.
Don’t pull people up by their (boot)straps (it’s painful and inappropriate), support them. Be a foundation not a winch.