I got involved in a conversation recently about what the point management is and what makes a good manager. That this conversation took place at all was something of a worry. It is one of those stories that will have to wait for a few years so as to protect the guilty.
I asked a few people that I trust for their perspectives on the important skills and character traits of managers. Someone insisted it was, “all about”, some fad or other, which of course it isnt’t. Another, rightly, gently told me off for making silly lists and pigeon holing people at the expense of variety, my current favourite theme. She was right, and this was born out in the range of responses. While there was some overlap, each varied considerably.
Anyway, while we can make and debate such lists, I’ve concluded that managers who are always trying to work themselves out of a job, rather than render themselves indespensible are the best ones, at least in rapidly changing environments.
I might even be so bold as to say that good management is the relentless pursuit of having nothing to do, while getting a lot done and getting it done well. A good manager takes this gamble in the certain kowledge that they will probably never get there and that whenever they get close they’ll be given other things to do anyway.
People like that also get to have interesting working lives and make a lot of friends in the process. I know a very few. I’m starting to wonder if the corporate world has forgotten that management is quite important.