The way we work is fundamentally flawed.
The problem is because managers are more valued than their staff. Let me explain.
Your average, everyday manager spends lots of time on administration. Stuff like approving vacations, hiring staff, filling out staff reviews, passing along messages from other managers, and doing more email administration than other workers. A lot of their other time is spent dealing with things like strategy and company policies.
It’s their staff that get the job done.
When workers are really good at their job they become managers. What basically happens is that someone who is good at what they do is ‘rewarded’ by being moved into a position that they have not been trained to do and may or may not have an aptitude or interest in doing. The organisation is then left with a group of workers which is now missing their best and brightest worker. So the new manager is left managing a team without its best worker and feeling unskilled and under pressure to achieve the same or more with less.
And what happens to those talented workers who have no interest in doing lots of admin, or telling other people what do? It’s hard to say no when you are told you are being rewarded for being awesome. Plus the perks of a pay rise, company car and an executive bonus scheme might be hard to resist. You’d be committing career suicide if you said ‘thanks, but no thanks’.
But what if those talented workers were rewarded for doing their job well in a different way. What if they were financially rewarded for their productivity and encouraged to continue doing a good job?
What if managers weren’t called ‘managers’ and had a title like ‘facilitators’. This could be a whole new discipline and these roles could be filled by people who had studied and trained in this skill. There’d be plenty to learn like how to do admin, company policies, dealing with peoples personal issues, and how to communicate and motivate groups of people. They could be paid an amount that would not necessarily have to be higher than the people they ‘facilitated’ because their job would be completely different.
The organisation would be better off because their best and brightest would be doing what they are best and brightest at. The people organising and facilitating them would be trained and skilled at doing their job. This might be a work of fiction, but isn’t it worth thinking about?