theory on being a good manager in today’s world

so i’m trying to understand exactly and maybe historically why managers always seem to be more important than specialists or implementers.

i’ve noticed a trend among friends that managers get a really bad rap. if a friend is being managed poorly, it’s definitely because of bad management (and usually just one bad manager). if the friend is the one in the management position, however, they are often the recipient of those same bad feelings, though for different reasons. statements like “i started doing all these things differently and now everyone hates me,” or “i tried to help improve this thing, but now it just seems like people around me ignore my suggestions because they’re mad that i get paid more than them.”

i definitely understand that there is good and bad management. and still it seems like the situations that managers are put in make it very difficult for them to do their work well. i definitely have a fundamental theory (probably from some psychology class) that people don’t like being coerced (i.e. don’t tell me what to do). and if managers are both higher in the chain of command and telling other people what to do, that seems like a situation destined for failure.

in an industrial system, i can imagine why a manager might be necessary. especially if the manager has done a specific type of work of the team they’re managing, i can see that person adding more value to a team by managing several people doing the same type of work.

however, teams (among my friend set) nowadays are working in very different environments. people are working on multi-skilled and collaborative teams which makes it rare that a manager will have the same types of expertise and experience of their team.

in these types of situations, the role of a manager seems best suited to enable the team to get their work done. you should be removing barriers to progress (technically, interpersonal, political, intra-personal, etc.) and helping your multidisciplinary team improve efficiency over time.

unfortunately, it seems like most managers these days just interrupt people and cause extreme annoyance.

hm. i guess i’m not going anywhere with this, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.