Looking After Each Other
Sometimes I mention to someone or other that the concept of management is past its sell-by date. I invite them to consider the implications for organisations when managers no longer prowl the cubes.
One question that often comes up is “who will look after folks’ career development?” As if managers typically do this. Well, maybe nominally they do. But I’ve never seen it happen.
In most organisations, folks who have some kind of explicit focus on their own career / professional / personal development take it on themselves to make things happen.
Bringing together the ideas of fellowship and the Antimatter Principle, I suggest that it might be beneficial for all concerned if folks attend to folks’ needs regarding career development – just as much as for other needs.
That’s not to say everyone will fall naturally into this way of being. Maybe some training or coaching might prove helpful. Ditto, dialogue and discussion. Some folks will put more into it than others, and some will get more out of it than others.
Talking of coaching, some suggest that great managers underscore their usefulness by coaching their people. Again, I’ve found this a very rare phenomenon. Coaching does seem to be increasing in popularity, albeit through the specialist coach, rather than managers. Again, folks ask “Who will do the coaching if there are no managers?” And again, I suggest that, apart from some pump-priming with specialist coaches (and maybe some periodic refreshers) , why can we not have everyone, potentially, attend to folks’ coaching needs?
I was working in one major global integrator some years ago. They had invested in training a cadre of some eighty or so volunteers in coaching skills (on top of their day jobs). The sad thing in that case was the extremely limited uptake from people at large, who seemed to not want coaching even when offered.
In so many ways, we CAN look after each other, given the collective will and explicit policies to enable it to happen. In other words, given a new frame.