Actually, the question should be “What’s the matter with managing?” as I’m hearing from more colleagues who tell me they still love their work, but they dislike the managing people part.
I shared my concern about this with Mary Theresa Taglang (MT), who has a background in HR and is now the Director of Lehigh University’s Master of Science in Management program. We talked about what MT called “the seismic economic shift that began with outsourcing and hit its zenith in 2008 when the economy soured and many experienced managers were let go and replaced with younger, cheaper and inexperienced managers focusing only on the bottom line.”
We also discussed:
- the decline and continued lack of corporate America’s investment in management development that’s still considered “soft-skills” training
- technology that allows for more communication and task efficiency that also results in unrealistic demands of being available to work 24/7
- mixed generations who multi-task and communicate differently
- the ongoing stress of changing priorities, budget challenges, and internal politics
- the resulting frustration of experienced managers who are tired of it all and not yet able to retire.
We could spend hours lamenting what’s the matter with managing these days, but my concern is the message we’re sending to young professionals. How do we keep from discouraging prospective managers? Based on her overall career experience, MT was both candid and realistic in her response: “Suck it up or go out on your own. That’s the only way to be in control of your own destiny.”
Yes, people interested in management roles need go in with their eyes wide open. In addition, what else can be done to better prepare people for the workplace – in both managerial and non-managerial roles? Your thoughts, please.