You Are Not a Manager So People Can Report To You

“Yes, but shouldn’t these people be reporting to me?” Ted asked.

“That depends. Functionally, their roles produce results you are interested in, but are you prepared to be their Manager?” I replied.

“I think so. I think they can report to me. I think I can hold them accountable for producing those results. I think I can check up on them to make sure they are working,” Ted proposed.

I smiled. “I know, you think being a manager is all about people reporting to you, and you, telling people what to do. But are you prepared to be their Manager?”

Ted gave a glance sideways.

“Your most important role,” I continued, “as a manager, is to bring value to the problem solving and decision making of your team. Are you bringing value by telling them that their reports are due on Friday and then reminding them Monday morning that their reports are late?”

Ted was still staring, but putting the pieces together. “Well, no, not when you put it that way.”

“Then, how, as their Manager, do you bring that value? And are you committed to bring that value? Are you willing to commit the time to bring that value? The answers to these questions will determine whether you should be the manager of this team.”

3 thoughts on “You Are Not a Manager So People Can Report To You

  1. Sheri Staak

    Tom, great blog. You said it so well that that manager’s aren’t there to be babysitters. It takes much more to move from management to leader. Would enjoy meeting you sometime.
    Sheri Staak – The Staak Report

    1. Tom Foster

      Hi, Sheri. Thank you for your observation. This is the age old dilemma, manager vs leader. Leadership is a required characteristic of management. Stand alone leadership is a myth. It is part of the role. There is managerial leadership, parental leadership, political leadership, spiritual leadership. Goes with the territory. Thanks again for the post.


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