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Managers Don’t Want to Manage People Anymore ….  Or do they?

A good colleague of mine made an interesting observation just a couple of days ago, following a social evening with a large peer group. A big topic of discussion centred on career development in the tech industry. Back in the day, understanding progression was easy - you started with an education; got a job; developed a skill set which expanded and deepened and the next move was directly into management. The route was clear then… but maybe not so now?

Unfortunately, this progression wasn’t all it was cracked up to be as many will now testify. For example, being a top-notch software engineer doesn’t mean you will automatically make a great software development manager. Pretty obvious really because the management skill set is fundamentally different. Understanding the nature of the job can be important but the ability to organise, motivate and develop the skills of others is a completely different specialism. This requires equal measures of people management, empathy, understanding and importantly, how to develop the skills of others while achieving team or departmental objectives.

Add to this, the challenges of managing people who are working away from the office in large numbers because of Covid (dammit, I wasn’t going to mention that word), and the management role gets even more complex. Remote working policies have to be observed, a lack of face-to-face interaction makes it more difficult to assess body language, the achievement of objectives are more difficult to measure and it becomes more difficult to spot early signs of work pressures and mental stresses.

It’s natural therefore that so many highly qualified specialists are turning their backs in increased numbers on the management roles that once would have been seen as natural progression. Why trade a job you love for the pressures and stress of managing people?

It’s certainly recognised that managing people is a specialist job.   But it’s now evident to many that ‘promotion’ to a management role can actually have an adverse effect on career development. Sure, there’s usually an initial pay rise but it soon dawns that the natural progression to manager status brings along challenges that many are simply not able to deal with. So, the extremely well-respected specialists that enjoyed their job to the full can easily become ineffective managers, frustrated by the challenges of team or department management.

So, what does this mean to your business?  It seems very much as Laurence J Peter put it in the late 60’s, in what become known as “The Peter Principle”. Employees who are competent in their job are promoted until they reach the level at which they become incompetent, whether it is by going down the management route or not. They become stuck at this final level. Promotion is necessary to maintain the quality of your workforce and your ability to better serve your customers, but careful consideration must be taken to prevent workers rising to their level of incompetence.


The Question Is, How Might We At Crown Help Your Managers?

We can give them time to manage more effectively. Developing management skills isn’t within our gift so we’re limited in that respect. But our solutions can and do help enormously if they’re correctly applied, providing the tools that simplify so many business processes - managing sickness and wellbeing, understanding absence and the reasons behind it, providing data analysis that highlights potential man-management issues before they become a major problem, controlling the deployment of staff in the most effective way. 

Mobile communications consign unnecessary paperwork to the bin, and providing accurate, timely management information helps everyone do their job better.

But can we do more? Crown would be happy to hear from you.

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