Life without Management


I am sorry for the radio silence lately.  Thankfully, I got to take a time off to spend with the family.  I’m now back in the saddle and ready for action.

Thank you for the tasty post last week where you posed the question: What about, rather than fixing management, we do away with it?  It is a great question and it seems to be an idea that resonated with a number of people.

As I’ve thought about the notion of eliminating the role of people supervisors, I realized that by doing that, we’d do away with a number of other things that we know and love:
  • Performance Appraisals. There would be no one to administer them.  No loss here because I can’t seem to find any real evidence that they work.  
  • Management Development Programs.  Perhaps now we can re-task our training folks to develop individuals on interpersonal and influence skills.  
  • Management Meetings and Retreats.  No more golf outings or long days trying to stay awake in a hotel conference room.  
  • Strained one-on-one Meetings.  Instead, we can meet when we have a reason to meet.
Imagine all of this recaptured time and energy.  I have to admit, it does sound appealing.  
I think that there is one major problem with this concept.  If we do away with management, each employee must become more personally accountable for their own performance.  And, from what I’m seeing these days, if there’s one thing we like less than management, it’s being held accountable.  BP didn’t admit any responsibility for the oil spill until they had no other options and no one left to blame.  In politics, it seems that the strategy for any situation is always deny any wrong doing and blame the other party.  Being held accountable or (gasp) accepting accountability is treated like the plague.  
In fact, if each individual chose to be more individually accountable, we might help minimize our current management crisis (if we don’t eliminate the profession).  Individually accountable employees help their managers to be successful by owning their own results and experience.  Individually accountable managers embrace their impact on others and realize that their job is to facilitate others’ success.  
Maybe instead of a management issue, we have an accountability issue.

1 comment

  1. I have to agree with Jason. I would rather be doing productive work, but my role as management is to make sure things get done. Without me, some would get done, but not everything. It all depends on who is doing the work. I am ACCOUNTABLE to make sure others get their work done. Am I adding value to the end product? Not directly, but indirectly, would we have as good of an end product if I weren't there?

    I can't say that being a manager is my dream job, but I like the interaction with people and supporting them. There are a lot of pros to the argument too.

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