How Software and IT Managers Become Noble | TechWell

How Software and IT Managers Become Noble

Leaders create value; managers count value. Leaders exercise influence; managers exercise power. Leaders inspire and motivate; managers simply plan, organize, and coordinate.

Many articles that explore the differences between leadership and management are written in a way that undermines the importance of managers, while projecting leadership as the superior of the two. There is often more goodness to the role of management than some of these articles really capture.

In his book, How Will You Measure Your Life?, Clayton Christensen introduces a very interesting perspective on the profession of management:

Management is the most noble of professions if it’s practiced well. No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognized for achievement, and contribute to the success of a team.

Of all the adjectives used to describe the profession of management, "noble" is very underused and refreshing. If we look at the job description of a typical manager role, it consists of myriad responsibilities. A manager in a typical day handles things that are complex and equivalent to a high volume of work.

One of the typical responsibilities that makes a management job special is the ability to coach and mentor others to bring a lasting change to the organization and the work lives of the people. Much like parents cannot simply pass the responsibility of raising their kids on to someone else, managers should not delegate development of the people for whom they are directly responsible. Good managers tend to become restless if they don't feel that people for whom they are responsible are growing and learning each day on the job.

A host of leaders and CEOs featured in Corner Office space at brilliantly acknowledge the role mentors played in helping them reach the pinnacle of success.

Larry Bossidy, former CEO of AlliedSignal, once said, "At the end of the day, you bet on people, not strategies.” Managers are the people with the special role that encourages people to work and play to their highest potential. Management as a profession becomes noble only if managers demonstrate the willingness to take their role a step further by committing to creating memorable experiences for their employees.

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