I sure wish someone would manage me more,” said no one ever.

People don’t want to be managed—they want to be supported, encouraged, challenged, exposed to new opportunities, and coached, but not managed.

A Hangover from a Bygone Era

The view on the role of Manager is a relic of yesterday’s thinking and practice in management. It’s an industrial revolution hangover that is ripe for retirement to a museum display. The label and old meaning don’t hunt in a digital world.

It’s time to focus on rethinking the role of Manager and then on dramatically re-attacking how we help individuals develop for this new role. We whiffed on the development of yesterday’s role of Manager. It’s time to level up our efforts focused on the new role needed to help our organizations survive and thrive.

We probably need a name change as well.

A Five-Point Job Description for the Role Formerly Known As Manager

The new role is focused on these five major areas:

  1. Creating diverse (in all aspects) just-in-time teams that crush complex problems, execute experiments, and then dissolve and reform with the next challenge.
  2. Serving as that critical middleware between strategy and execution.
  3. Owning the development of contributors and collaborators.
  4. Facilitating exploration and learning
  5. Building and connecting networks that enable creativity, innovation, and execution.

Note: there’s nothing in this description about managing people. If people need to be managed, you’ve hired the wrong ones.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

It’s a fact that my colleagues never let me get away with naming things. Apparently, it’s not a superpower of mine. Nonetheless, what about replacing the label of Manager with the term Collaborator? I wonder how an individual might think about their daily work if they started every day focused on their work as a Collaborator and not a Manager.

Art's Signature