As a Program Manager I sometimes speculate, analyze, and answer the question “why the hell do we have managers?” Admittedly that question is usually “why the hell do we have this manager,” but people tend to tar us all with the same brush.
Management is a skillset like anything else, but here’s the thing – we’re all managers. It’s just what we’re able to effectively manage.
Some people have the knowledge and intensity to write a program, others can lead and perform in a surgical team, others can guide a company. All of that is management – even if you’re managing yourself (though sadly some people can’t manage that). We’re all managers.
It’s just that some of us have the skill, perspective, and ability to manage people and organizations. Not everyone can do it. For that matter, some people who could manage a team couldn’t manage writing a book or managing a department. We’ve got different management abilities – some of us just end up making a profession of it.
So we need managers – good managers – like we need anyone else. I find looking at it this way gives a useful and true perspective.
So I don’t think less of people who aren’t managers, nor do I think everyone with the title is necessary good at it.
But necessary? Yes. Ask yourself how you organize things in your career, and what would happen if you weren’t there.
Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach. He blogs on careers at http://www.fantopro.com/, nerd and geek culture at http://www.nerdcaliber.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.