INSTANT MBA: It’s No Longer Beneficial To ‘Manage’ People

Peter Drucker

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Today’s advice comes from the late author and management consultant Peter Drucker appearing on The WSJ:  “The task is to lead people. And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of every individual.”

During the factory-era, it made sense to have actual managers in order to organise, plan, hire the right people and produce as many products as possible. It was all about following orders and staying on schedule for efficiency.

But that has changed in the new economy where the true value of a company is no longer employees’ man-power, but rather the people’s knowledge. We are no longer a machine waiting to be started and needs constant surveillance. Instead, workers are now looking to their managers not only to assign them a task, but to mentor and give them a reason as to why they’re performing that task.

Warren Bennis writes in his book “On Becoming a Leader” a couple of differences between a manager and a leader:

  • The manager administers whereas the leader innovates.
  • The manager is a copy whereas the leader is an original.
  • The manager maintains whereas the leader develops.
  • The manager relies on control whereas the leader inspires trust.
  • The manager asks “how” and “when” whereas the leader asks “what” and “why.”

As the definition of management changes, Drucker says the “knowledge” worker has been born — it’s the combination of both managers and leaders. One cannot exist without the other, but the manager exists a little less than the leader.

“With the rise of the knowledge worker, one does not ‘manage’ people.”

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