The Real Manager
I have huge respect for someone who has a deep knowledge technically in addition to a passion for managing a project. I respect managers of this kind. Back in 2008, I worked for someone who was a Software Architect before and who had become a project manager because of his interest in managing a project and team. It was the most amazing phase of my career and I loved working with such types. But finding such managers has become a rarity these days. There should be an inherent interest in people management, but again this is not the case. People assume that if they earn their MBA they automatically become good managers or CEOs. An MBA has nothing to do with all these. It is just one of the ways universities make money.
An MBA does no good
It is something in your genes that decides whether you would be successful as a manager or not. Management is a trait that is defined by birth and only specific people are crafted for it. Educational institutions rips people off their money in the name of an MBA degree, but you don’t become a successful manager just because you earned an MBA degree. Most of the successful managers were not an MBA initially. They were conferred an MBA just to make it look as though they became good managers because of their degree. It is sad these days that people assume that a management degree is mandatory. It is mostly a decoration with no real use.
Most Managers these days
Most of the times, It is not based on interest or passion. A good number of people these days cannot develop a software efficiently nor coordinate a software development team. Just think about the quality of the manager when such people earn this MBA degree sitting in classrooms and all of a sudden become managers. This is the fact today and when such people rise up in ranks, the entire organization gets into a huge mess. They attempt at learning to manage at the cost of the goodwill of a well established organization and they fail in that – holding that goodwill at ransom. Most of the times, these are the managers who keep pushing for certain “process / methodology” in a technology company thinking that process would get their work done.
These managers are focused on one thing – to improve their (and only their) career at any cost as they know they cannot survive with their lacking of skill. They then get into the survival mode and engage in nasty workplace politics eroding motivation and confidence level of the team. They stick to the company like leeches and would refuse to part even when they know they are not worth the pay they get. Generally these people are good in putting up a pomp and creating attractive PowerPoint slides just to impress their boss. There would be no content to back that presentation. They shun technical conferences fearing that they may get exposed.These managers are the same as HR ‘professionals’. They have no real work to do. And they keep pretending that the whole organization revolves around them. Because of this pomp and their loud mouth, often they have a very high visibility and a fast growth which are much detrimental to the organization.
Most of the time, it would be a singular effort of a person working under them, for which this manager has taken all the credit. These managers are very possessive about the credit – whether they deserve it or not – and would not share with the team or even with the original contributor. It is all theirs and they would use the work of others to gain a foothold in an organization. And they do not have any sort of guilt in doing this for their only focus is on their career. They are least bothered about the growth of the Company – it does not matter as they are busy planning their next move and finding the next target to attach to, like a parasite.
What should change ?
This problem is seen in companies with a rigid top down hierarchy. If each person has an access two level above his immediate manager, this situation could partially be remedied. You can at least insulate yourself from the ill effects that the typical manager would spew around. And you can do enough to safe guard your credits for what you deserve. The second thing that is to be strengthened is the hiring. Over emphasis on degrees could not get you the quality. Hire people who are passionate about what they do. They are the ones who are self-motivated and could learn easily. If you start looking at the degrees as an entry criteria, you will not always get the right hire. And one bad hire can be demoralizing for the whole team. It will take a long time for you to notice the rot, but by then enough damage could be done.
If you are one of the typical manager and want to mend your ways, please invest time and effort in learning what the technology and the business is all about. Stop the pomp and stop the singular focus on your career. You grow when you contribute to the growth of an organization. Merely speaking about numbers and tossing statistics in air wont get you anywhere. A true businessman would not keep speaking about numbers, ‘bottom line’ or ‘revenues’. A true businessman would have immense passion on what he does and what the business is all about. They are focused on the growth of the organization. Their talks about numbers are just an outcome. Do not imitate just the last part alone. Imbibe the passion first. Mere talks about numbers will not make you a businessman. Instead, it will make you look like a fool for anyone who is either technically brilliant or has an inherent business knack. Usually, those figures and the talks may not be your own either. You heard your boss speak and you vomit that elsewhere because you want others to believe that you know all about business. Stop this pretense and start learning. Intellects do not speak much, they perform.