Why No Office Manager Is Necessary
Why do managers exist? The assumption, born in slavery, through serfdom, through the military and into the Industrial Age Factory System, was that managers are necessary because people will not produce as much without them. The notion is that managers justify their existence by causing people to produce so much extra that they cover their own salary and bring extra profit to the practice.
There isn’t a single study that supports the assumption that managers make people more productive. To the contrary, research shows that fifteen of the twenty reasons someone will leave their job are directly related to their manager. Remove managers and you remove 75% of the reasons someone will leave you. And they are more likely to reduce productivity than to increase it.
So why do we put up with this antiquated organizing anchor? For 125 years research paper after research paper reveals that the manager role is fraught with problems, but rather than look for another solution, we have instead slapped lipstick on the pig for over a century in a vain attempt to make a model work for the emerging work world that was designed to control slaves, serfs, and unwilling militia.
There is a better way.
Distributed Decision-making teams, or DDM teams, are the solution. Adults don’t need to be managed, only led – a VERY different thing. Management is nothing more and nothing less than pure, unadulterated codependence. The manager needs someone to tell what to do, and the team member, who is used to being treated like a child, is glad to make no decisions.
DDM Teams are self-managed and do everything the manager used to do that actually added value. It turns out very little the manager did actually adds value. As Peter Drucker said, “Most of what we call management consists of making it hard for people to get their work done.”
Managers tell. Leaders Ask. Treat people like adults, eliminate managers, turn your office manager into an office leader, get them out of the day2day, believe that people will step up, and watch your team become more productive.