There is no such thing as a manager

I had the opportunity to interview for a senior position at a very big company recently. The entire process was fascinating for what it says about human nature and about large companies. The outcome of the process is unclear at the time of writing this but I am expecting the intrinsic misalignments in the process will lead it into the reeds from which it is unlikely to emerge. I am as close to the perfect candidate for the role that they will ever interview, but the internal parties are not all aligned around the very existence of the position.

The most incredible part of the process and the topic of this post was the inherent illogicality of what some of the internal parties were looking for. They wanted a facilitator – in a very technical role – who couldn’t lead. I guess that this is not entirely illogical in and of itself. In the context – you can safely imagine that it was a data driven context for which I would be a very good candidate – it beggared belief.

We throw around the word manager as if it is self-evident what this means. However most discussions about managers revolve around how they are not managing. I want to introduce a new idea, let’s drop the word manager and replace it by its functional roles: administrator, leader.

What is it that a manager truly does? A word cloud might include: coordination, synchronisation, planning, supervision(?), etc. But I argue that these functions can typically be captured by a combination of administration and leadership. Not every manager needs to do both. I think most managerial functions are captured by these two words.

I am primarily a leader, who is also pretty good at administration, at this point in my career. I guess that historically I have also been quite a facilitator, but nowadays I see that as a sub-function of good leadership.

One Reply to “There is no such thing as a manager”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.