A counter-intuitive perspective on a manager’s role

A manager’s job is *not* to ensure the task is done, the task is done on time, the task is done with quality! Then what the heck is a manager’s job?

Then what is left for manager to do? What is a manager’s role?

Layer Over Layer of Managers

  1. We get a doer to do the job.
  2. Then we get a manager to ensure that the doer is doing the job, doing it on time, and doing it well.
  3. The manager often does not find much respect from the doer anyway as the manager cannot do the doers jobs as well as s/he can.
  4. If the job is still not done well, we blame the manager, the manager blames the doer.
  5. One or the other would be warned and if behaviour does not change, then one of them loses his/her job.
  6. Often we would replace the manager with a higher paid manager, assuming ‘higher pay = higher skill, which would solve the problem.
  7. When even this does not work, we create a layer of an even more senior manager over that manager. And sometimes in the process have to ‘create work’ to ensure managers are busy and productive.

Build ‘systems’ for the ‘doer’ to do his/her job well

A sample “Delegation Sheet” that clearly defines a task, it’s doer, frequency of the task, the next due date and whether it was done or not done by the doer
An example of a Flowchart Monitoring System built using Google Spreadsheets

The onus of success or failure shifts to Management


  1. what could be a ‘system’ that could be put in place here?
  2. what is a process that is going undocumented?
  3. what is a workflow that could be automated to enable the doer to do better?
  4. what tools could be used to enable the doer to do better?



When you do the right things, right things happen to you

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Rahul Dewan

Hindu, Meditator, Yoga, Angel Investor, Entrepreneur, Free Markets, Open Source