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When The Most Important Thing In YOUR Day Is Not The Most Important Thing In HIS Day

July 31, 2020

I need you to put your Skype status on Do Not Disturb and clear everything from your calendar for this meeting. No multi-tasking. I need your undivided attention.

I was surprised he didn’t ask us to turn our webcams in order to check on us. The meeting was a mandatory two hour training. Actually, it was a two day training. Two hours each day. No interruptions.

Of course, everyone is working from home, so our attention couldn’t be monitored. But, there were exams as part of this training. They really wanted us to pay attention.

I did. . .sort of.

The problem was the training was of no interest to me. Was it beneficial? Maybe. It was well written and well delivered. But, the concepts didn’t relate to my job. My manager thought it did. It related a lot to his job. But, I’ve done my job for 7 years without his four hours of training.

There are 25 people on the three teams that attended. Twenty-five people, four hours works out to 100 hours. At roughly $50/hour, that’s $5,000 that we paid in “lost” hours for this training.

What’s the role of managers? Especially if they are managing knowledge workers? Shoudl they be able to do the employees job better than the employee? Should they be experts on the needs and the skillsets of the team?

Or, should they be experts at, well, managing? Able to listen to the team and remove roadblocks or provide support?

I’ve been on teams and I’ve been in charge of teams. And my answer is unequivacle. Managers are not in their role because they are the smartest, or the most skilled, or the most important.

Managers have a role to play on a team. But, if you are smarter than all of your team members, you need to hire smarter employees. If you know how to do team members jobs better than they do, you need to train them and give them opportunities to become the expert at what they do.

Managers who decide they know best, who decide that whatever they say is naturally more important than anything the team might say, or do, are hamstringing their teams.

If you are in charge of people, don’t treat them like sheep. Don’t assume that you know how to do their jobs. Don’t assume that you know better than them how to do their jobs. If you hired smart people, they know how to do their jobs. Let them.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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