The Roles Of A Manager - A Family Metaphor

Where most people agree on when discussion the tasks of the manager it is that management is about:
  • Goal setting
  • Organizing activities
  • Measure in what way the goal is achieved and analyzing what is going on.
Then there is a people part, call it the people manager a term that has gone into disuse, where the manager communicates with most of all - the team members. But what is communication? It is a vague term that can contain anything.

A model could help us out here, comparing the interactive role of the manager with the various roles in the family environment.

In a family context you will find, the parent, the child, the sibling and the partner role.

The manager as a parent, a father or mother.
The manager as a parent is out to guide the team members, teaching them perhaps, and also protecting them. A manager should stand out for its team members.

The manager as a child.
Sometimes we forget that we have been a child, but as much as often the child in us sticks out its head; it the child that wants something. In this role the manager is enthusiastic in reminding the team members to achieve that goal.

The manager is also a partner (in the tradition, the husband or wife).
In this role the manager is not alone in managing the team. The manager listens to the team (members) and by listening it will adjust and rearrange.

Finally, the manager is also a sibling - a brother or sister.
It is in this role that the work is divided, in either a competing or cooperative way. Sometimes it is difficult to delegate and you want to do it yourself (rather than turning to your rivaling sister).

Think for yourself when managing and check whether you recognize yourself in these roles.

Hans Bool owns Astor White a consulting company dedicated to manage (personal) change by focusing on productivity and style. On the site you will find amongst other things self service tools (for example) and an invitation to a newsletter with unique and private content.

2007 Hans Bool