Should all Managers Manage People?

As human beings, we are all different and all unique. This uniqueness flavours our interactions and our organisations yet it creates its own challenges to organisational setups and structures. One specific challenge presented by this great variety is in actually defining a manager. Various dictionary definitions of Manager exist yet all focus on the fact that it is a person who is responsible for organising, administering and controlling an organisation or group of staff. In this definition, the word OR is key.
Through time, as an individual grows within an organisation, there is the human and organisational need to be recognised for this contribution and experience. This is frequently done with the title Manager. By definition, a manager should be managing an organisation or group of staff. What typically happens, however, is that managers are given responsibility for staff since it is perceived as a ‘promotion’. The reality in many instances is that productivity decreases and frustration increases. in addition there are also many situations where team members end up leaving the team following the appointment of a new manager since they tend to feel there is no clear future growth path for them.
People management is a vocation and not simply a job. Not all people are cut out to be people managers and similarly not all people are cut out to be technical experts. Having said this, options for both types of people actually do exist. The challenge is to shape our thinking and our organisations to actually create these paths where experienced people with different orientations can all flourish and grow. All orientations are critical to an organisation‘s growth and wellbeing.