This is a comment on the business world in general and if it hits home then it’s purely by accident. I find it interesting that we have taken upon ourselves to reduce layers and layers of management within large organizations. Just to prove I am not talking about us, there are 8 layers of management between me and the top boss so I am not sure how much shrink has actually occurred. Anyway, in order to achieve this shrink, we fired all of the people managers. People mangers being the folks that had great skill in managing people, empathy, emotional intelligence, etc. We fired those folks and promoted the task managers. Task managers are the folks than break a lot of glass in the china shop to make things happen. They focus on the results and not the path to get there. Traditionally, both manager types provided value. Great organizations knew how to balance these personality types to ensure we move forward without burning down the forest.
This strategy looked good on paper. The ironic thing is that we are now spending millions to do what again? Yes, training the task managers on how to be better people managers. Why? What Happened to the Grand Plan?
In a nut shell, the loyal, humble and dumb employee is dead, and the need for the task manager is disappearing. Meaning that the more self-starters, highly motivated, and educated our employee base becomes the less we need those task managers and the more we need the people managers. Would it have been better to keep the people managers and train them on task management? Yes and I am Monday morning quarterbacking! I can see why these decisions were made; cut costs, lower standards, dumb down the jobs, etc. But something happened along the way; we got smarter not dumber. The employee said no to the direction we were going. We got a lot more resourceful and technology emerged that put the value creation back into the hands of the employee. More than that, the new generation won’t stand for an environment that is bully oriented. That ship sailed decades ago with the factory floor. We now must create engaging work environments that are collaborative in nature. How organizations adapt back to people managers will be interesting to watch.