What does it mean to be a manager?

A humanistic perspective on the business of management.

For me, management is a support function. It’s about helping ensure that a team of workers is able to work together to get their job done and to solve whatever problem they have been hired to solve.

Because let’s face it, if you didn’t have a problem that needed to be fixed and if that problem didn’t require a human’s intelligence to be applied to fixing it, you wouldn’t need to hire someone to do that job. It all comes down to problem solving. Even if you have hired someone to sweep the floor, there is a reason you need the floor swept and that reason is that if it isn’t swept, you will have a problem.

The people we hire are there to fix problems. The job of the manager is to make sure the people who are fixing the problems have the tools, training and support they need so that they can fix the problems they have been hired to fix.  This is a very humanistic conception of management.

The manager in this framework isn’t bossy. They aren’t telling people what to do. They are a support person who helps them team do their job.  Kind of like an engineer who keeps a train running. A manager is important, but not more important that those that are doing the actual work.  Sure, sometimes that means the manager has to tell the employees what problems to fix and to help them prioritize which problems get fixed first, but prioritizing tasks is a strategic coordinating function rather than a bossy boss function. 

Ideally, a humanistic manager works with their team collaboratively. It’s not a top down or bottom up role. It’s more of a coordinators role. It’s about communication. What needs to get done, how are we going to do it, what does staff need to do the job and so forth. The best managers are the best communicators.

The problem is that most people who become managers never receive training on what exactly it is they are supposed to be doing. So they wing it. They do what they think a manager should do based on what they have experienced in the past. They may even try to emulate a manger they saw in a movie once.  Who knows what they think a manager does. It may surprise you.

It is no longer acceptable to manage people as if they were expendable cogs in a machine that can be replaced. A dictatorial style of management is abusive and will expose your company to an amazing amount of potential litigation and high turnover. Humanistic management is becoming the norm for a reason. It’s a more effective and humane way of organizing people towards a common cause or whatever it is your staff are supposed to be doing.

Learn the Principles of Humanistic Management - https://humanistlearning.com/principles-of-humanistic-management/

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