I’ve never liked the title of Manager. Because Managers, well, manage. I don’t like to manage, and I don’t like to be managed. To me, manage means “to scrape by” or “make do”. This sounds very similar to “do more with less” that I spoke negatively about in my last post. This is no way to run a team, department, business, or organization of any kind.
There’s another reason I don’t care for the “manager” title. As Grace Murray Hopper said: “You manage things; you lead people.” So, the title “Materials Manager” is OK if the person truly only manages materials. But if they are responsible for workers, they should be a leader, not just a manager. And I don’t mean just by title. They need to act like a leader. I love what Simon Sinek said about leaders: “Leaders are not responsible for the results. Leaders are responsible for the people who are responsible for the results.”
Some may think this manager/leader thing is just semantics, but I disagree. Giving someone responsibility over others means they are responsible for both the work and the development of those they supervise. This requires leadership skills, not just (thing) management skills. And often, these employees are expected to do this without having received any leadership training. This means that if you are putting a person in a leadership role, you should do the things necessary to make this work. First, make it clear to everyone that the person is in fact a leader (by title, or communication, or both). Second, give them some leadership training! And I don’t mean a one and done approach. A long-term leadership program will provide much better results. If this is a high-level position, you might even consider an executive coach. (I can help you find one if you are interested.) Most people aren’t born leaders. They need to be trained (and trained, and trained). Failure to do so means your company will continue to just have managers instead of leaders.