What’s the manager role?

I’m sitting at my hotel louge drinking coffee waiting for my next appointment and started thinking about something that happened a month ago.

I was having coffee with an old classmate. He has done pretty well too and now manages a team of people like I do. In the hour we sat in the lounge, his handphone rings at least 3 times. “Fire fighting… my team couldnt do without me” he said proudly. I could hear the unspoken hint “so how come your guys don’t need you?” since my handphone remains totally silent.

But I don’t feel bad at all.You see, I believe a good manager role is to build a team whereby he is totally redundant. It is fairly easy to build a team where your folks look for you and ask you to make decisions. But it is not easy to build a team who will be able to make the right decisions for itself.

I mean, I couldn’t be with my team forever. I might be fired, I may be promoted or I may leave for a better job tomorrow, next week or next month. You never know what happened. And as a responsible manager, the least I could do is to ensure the team can function without me.

So while I do long term strategic planning as if I will be in IDA for the rest of my life, when it comes to team building, I work on the basis that I may leave IDA next week.

This is why I don’t feel bad I dont received any phone calls from my team. In fact, I feel quite proud that my team dont need me at all. At least, I could enjoy my coffee in peace :-)

ps: I still think my team needs a bit more work but we are getting there.

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