A Lonely, Joyful Road: Management as a Calling
Workgroup Report: Why should someone become a manager?
Most people begin their management careers by accident and then spend a lifetime learning about people and things and themselves. Good managers are rarely appreciated. Like teachers, the joy found in other’s successes is deep and lasting. Like teaching, management is a calling.
Topic question: Why should a young manager consider a career in management?
- Who inspired you to be a manager?
- Have the rewards of being a manager changed for you over the years?
- Is being a manager as respected as it should be?
- Bob DeVita
- Susan Dineen
- Patti Epstein
- Kevin Hickman
- Bryon Johnson
- Bill Mitchell
- Tim Stewart
- Kristi Thering
- Carolyn Tretina
- Derrick Van Mell
What is a manager?
“I did what was mine to do. Pray may you find out what is yours.” - Saint Francis of Assisi
- A manager is someone who helps people work together. A leader is someone who inspire people to take a risk. Almost all managers are also leaders and vice versa.
- To clarify roles, it helps to put the manager’s and the employee’s job descriptions side by side
- Good managers tend to believe the best of people, in their innate compassion and goodness
- A manager keeps people safe, makes the feel appreciated and gives them work to be proud of
Who inspired you to be a manager?
“Some men are born great. Others have greatness thrust upon ‘em.” - Shakespeare
- Most were “negatively inspired” by a bad manager: that made them want to be a good boss
- Most were forced to be a manager, yet given little or no instruction
- Were introduced to management early: in school, summer jobs, sports, the military or family business
- Also in common: someone spotted an inherent ability in us
- Some tried to avoid being a manager, many left management positions for years
- Still, most did feel the “call” of management
Have the rewards of being a manager changed for you over the years?
“Execution is the chariot of greatness” - William Blake
- Good managers are rarely appreciated or thanked: they need to find their own rewards
- Universally, the reward-the joy—was seeing other people grow and succeed
- Managing is teaching and has similar reward
- Is managing a spiritual practice? Perhaps, but it’s certainly a way to develop oneself personally
- A good manager learns to see people as individuals, a great life lesson
- An indicator of success is when the employees no longer need you
- For a chief executive, the reward is making and leaving the organization safe and healthy
- Good managers can enjoy being life-long learner
Is being a manager as respected as it should be?
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” – Lao Tzu
- No. Why?
- For some reason, people think it’s easy to be a manager
- Leaders and innovations get a lot of attention, within organization and the press
- Managers get things done, but that doesn’t get much attention, either
- Good managers keep a low profile, so don’t get recognized
- Management is always ambiguous, so it’s hard to measure directly
- Good managers should be generous in their praise—and we should praise them, too.
- Perhaps STEM earns respect today, instead of the “softer” skills of a manager