Dec 14, 2020

5 min read

Eternal managerial goal: Eliminate your job

The Sistine Chapel, ceiling frescos after restoration. The creation of Adam by Michelangelo (1475–1564)

“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay.” — Dalai Lama

A trainer at one of my corporate leadership classes once said that, as managers, we are business parents; we help our team members grow by helping them find their path in becoming themselves.

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.”John Maynard Keynes

The counterintuitive guidance in raising our children is also applicable to the way we coach our team members. Although we do not have a kinship with them like we do with our kids, our wish for them is the same: for them to become their best. With our employees, early in our managerial career, we have difficulty letting them make decisions, mistakes, and learn from their failures. Just like the narrow thinking that the failures of children make us look bad, we believe the mistakes of our employees show that we are bad managers. Only with time, when we make our mistakes as young managers, do we learn to let our team learn to fly with their own wings.

“The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.” — William James

Taking these counterintuitive paths of raising better parents and growing better managers of the future is the only way we can strike the right balance between our lives and those of the next generations. While we help our children to become better parents and our employees better managers than we are, we are indeed teaching us to learn how to balance between future vs. present, giving vs. taking, moderate vs. excessive.