Leadership, Not Middle Management

In the Jan-Feb 2011 issue of Harvard Business Review, Lynda Gratton wrote a column in which she stated “the classic job of the middle manager will soon disappear” now that “technology itself has become the great general manager.”

imageThe article goes on to discuss her research on the technology revolution and how it is creating seismic shifts in social informatics, changing the ways that people work. As HBR points out, “her research shows that younger workers value a highly skilled “master” who is capable of mentoring instead of “someone who simply keeps track of what they do.” ”

While I do not agree with this position as a blanket statement across all roles and job functions, I think it does apply to most white collar, information worker functions. People want leadership and guidance, not micro-management. How many of us have been in roles where we do our own jobs, as well as that of our managers – where their only function seems to be PowerPoint status reports of our own work product? While there is most definitely a need for reporting and analysis and decision-making, Gratton’s point is that the capability of technology to provide transparency to our work is outpacing the value of middle managers.

We need more leaders: people with conviction and values, who speak their minds, and both say what they are going to do – and do what they say.

I’m just saying…

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.