Should Everyone Be Pushed Towards Management?
February 24, 2014 at 9:15 AM
Just because the current people you manage are good at the jobs they are doing, does not mean they would be good managers. Traditionally, becoming a manager seems like the final destination whether the person in question would be good for it or not. You need to think about better alternatives.
If you look at Facebook they've recently changed their employee handbook, and have started to offer their staff a dual career track which allows employees to reach senior positions as experts, or they can work towards management positions. Facebook believes that a great deal of people who are employed for a job with technical needs and services are extremely passionate about their work, and would rather do the work they were trained for, instead of trying to reach a management position they might not be qualified for.
An assumption made by most leaders and directors is that the management role should be given as a prize or recognition for an employee’s hard work. This ignores the skills needed to be a good manager - communication, emotional intelligence, delegation, empowerment and collaboration - are not always skills your employee might possess. For example, your human resource software solution specialist wasn't hired for the same reason his manager was, and their rising success isn't necessarily for their people management skills, but because they're incredibly adept in their current role.
This doesn't only overlook the fact that management skills aren't in their current repertoire, but what if they don't actually aspire to be a manager? Management is a skill that can definitely be taught, but it's also true that some people are better at it than others, which has nothing to do with their ability to do their job. Everyone has different natural strengths and weaknesses. Some people are amazing at time management, and get large amounts of work in small periods of time without much direction. Other people can be great at making close working relationships that drive a group to work harder.
Facebook isn't the only company finding this uprising trend, South Western Financial Network & Insurance Services, have started to view their employees in the same way. They know in order to move their company forward they need to be sure every employee was on a career track they'd enjoy. It was necessary to make sure that the technical experts were functionally equally as important as managers. This ensures a symbiotic relationship between the company and the client where both benefit from each other and work together to make the company successful.
We need both kinds of people, those who excel at being assigned tasks, as well as managers who excel at leading others. This isn't to say that every employee you hire should be left alone. You should investigate and look at your current hires to see if they have underlying management skills you might have missed.
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