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Create Heroes in Every Profession

        posted by , February 19, 2013

Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes.
~ Bertolt Brecht
Most organizations are designed to promote their most productive staff into management. In fact, management is often the only way up — other professional pursuits are dead ends. This is a mistake that leads to numerous inefficiencies.

Organizations should not be so quick to promote their most productive staff to middle management — a better strategy is to to create heroes in every profession.

Over-focus on Middle Management

Several inefficiencies occur when management is the only career path:

middle management

- highly productive staff are encouraged to become hands-off
- middle management becomes too large
- office politics heats up
- staff who are uninterested in management become disengaged
- management becomes an over-rated skill

Organizations with a large middle management tend to become slow, bureaucratic and inefficient.

Heroes in Every Profession

Organizations should provide career paths in every profession extending all the way to the executive ranks. Under this approach, management becomes one of many ways to advance.

perfomance management

This approach has several advantages:

- staff remain in their profession of choice
- a smaller middle management
- may reduce intensity of office politics
- re-focus on hands-on work
- employees more likely to stay engaged / be happy

This post is an installment in the ongoing series of articles called Management: The Missing Manual.

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