I went into office yesterday with one main goal to achieve and it was not achieved. Today, it seems I am heading in that direction. Where did the time go? I was busy. A recap of my day showed it was full of human interactions. “Maybe I should lock my door so I get something done,” was the first thing that came to mind. It is very tempting to do that and I wonder how much of a challenge this is to managers. Another angle to this is to reevaluate what we perceive as important.
Some might argue that the most value a leader offers an organization is primarily through human interaction, not from ideas the manager comes up with while hiding behind locked doors. Neither should the manager be “doing” things himself. Once he does, it is not “managing” anymore. It is “doing.” The time a leader spends building awareness of her team, customers, competitors, opportunities, and even self is more valuable than time spent trying to do work of others.
Personally, I tend to underestimate the amount of time human interaction should and does take from a manager’s time. Based on the above argument, the manager’s most important job is to interact with people, listen to them, coach them, learn from them, and find creative solutions from the team process.
In real life though, while some might agree with the argument on paper, they will fight it in real life, as managers and managers of managers. Managers themselves have the insecurity of being deemed no-value-add if they do not “do” something themselves, or if they delegate too much of their work to their subordinates, or if they teach their “secrets of the trade” to the team members. Managers of managers also usually have a problem with the manager not doing. Their is no immediate, direct, and apparent value from the manager managing. “I wonder if I can do without this guy,” is a thought a manager of managers probably thinks. “Afterall, everything seems to be going smoothly,” she would think to self if things are going smoothly. If things are not then “maybe it is not because this manager is not -doing- anything.”
I am interested in hearing from you on this. What do you think?