To Manage Well, Get Out of the Way

You’ve heard of software as a service? This is management as a service. Managers serve the people doing the work. And nobody is more important in an organization than the people doing the work. In this brave new world, management’s role should be to remove the impediments in front of the people doing the work so that they can do it well.

Management is becoming another function to facilitate the work of the technically and creatively skilled people who do the heavy lifting. We need managers, not because people need a boss, but because people need someone to resolve the issues that are stopping them from doing their work.

There’s a risk here that the pendulum swings too far, and companies end up under-managed. Skilled managers still matter –Minimally Invasive Management is not the same as no management at all.

A good manager doesn’t make people cogs in a wheel, but instead gets all the wheels spinning together. That starts with giving people clear priorities and communicating well what’s going on in the organization – what decisions are being made and why they are being made.

Summing-up: One of the most important tasks of a manager is to eliminate his people’s excuses for failure. To get the most out of teams it’s best to stop leading for a bit, give teams autonomy over an assigned task,  and then get out of the way.

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