A manager by definition is “a person who supports, activates, and is responsible for the work of others.” (Management 2nd edition 2011, Schermerhorn and Wright)
This definition is repeated in various forms with the same connotation in management textbooks across North America.
To believe that a manager doesn’t complete any tasks on their own however is erroneous thinking and is counter to the true definition of management.
Management is not a spectator sport!
The extent to which a manager completes tasks is based on the size of the team, the size of the company and, many times, the skill and/or experience level of that manager.
By definition, someone in a management role should be DIRECTLY supporting, activating and working through others over 50% of their time.
Outside of that direct activity, the tasks they perform should also be related to helping their team achieve its goals, as that is the core duty of a manager.
Management is helping your team achieve their goals, not sitting on the sidelines barking orders. Sometimes (ESPECIALLY in a smaller company), managers MUST have their sleeves rolled up and work with their team to accomplish their goals. Even in this state, they are STILL the manager as the overall responsibility of the team is on their shoulders.
Randy Friesen, DiplT Marketing Management, BTech Management, MA Knowledge Management,
Instructor, Principles of Management
BC Institute of Technology
Chief Operating Officer