since when were great specialists great managers?

I spent last weekend with some uni mates, all now late-30’s professionals. The hot topic of discussion at brunch was How Much I Hate Managing People. Which made this piece about keeping workers happy (via @tudehope1) particularly interesting because in it the CEO of training consultancy Happy points out that because not all people are good managers, there needs to be an alternative path to promotion – “The problem in many companies is that people only get promoted by managing people. But some people should never be managing people and don’t want to be managing people, there needs to be a system to recognise other skills.”

Just because you’re a brilliant lawyer/vet/accountant/salesperson/planner, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be a great manager of people. In fact it’s pretty crazy to take someone who is brilliant at their job and promote them into a role that requires them to spend less time being brilliant and more time on HR.

Perhaps this is something agencies should look at –  over the years I’ve heard endless stories about agency people who were less-than-great at managing people, despite being very good at art designing/digital strategising/planning etc.

One uni friend told me that in her corner of government there actually are two career paths – one for those who want to manage and one for those who want to specialise in Doing.  Which she said would be great if only it wasn’t for blumin appraisals…

marketoonist bad managers

by The Marketoonist, Tom Fishburne

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