Managers sometimes get a bad press, often get blamed when things go wrong.
But managers are (obviously) essential to the operation of an organisation. Managers plan, coordinate people and resources, guide, monitor and control. Managers create the conditions necessary to get things done.
Mary Parker Follett put it most succinctly:
“Management is the art of getting things done through people.”
However, the influence of a manager goes much further than that if you look at it from the perspective of the manager’s direct reports – the people being managed.
Every interaction that takes place will have an impact – positive or negative whether consciously planned or not and regardless of how aware the manager is of that impact.
Every interaction either builds a person up and encourages them, empowering them to improve and grow; or knocks them back, sowing seeds of doubt and, at worse undermining them.
“I used to think that if you cared for other people, you need to study sociology or something like it. But… I [have] concluded, if you want to help other people, be a manager. If done well, management is among the most noble of professions. You are in a position where you have eight or ten hours every day from every person who works for you. You have the opportunity to frame each person’s work so that, at the end of every day, your employees will go home feeling like Diana felt on her good day: living a life filled with motivators.”
Clayton M. Christensen, How Will You Measure Your Life?
Did you get that?
If done well, management is among the most noble of professions.
The impact you have as a manager extends, not only throughout your organisation, but like ripples in a pond, it spreads out into people’s wider lives.
As a manager, your job matters because it influences how people feel about themselves, it affects the mood and emotions that they carry into other relationships and therefore can have a positive effect at work, in people’s homes and even in wider society.