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Why Working Managers Don't Work

Working managers often have to roll up their sleeves and pitch in to get the work done. However, this behavior doesn't actually help productivity or organizational growth.

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The term "working manager" is used to describe a leader who not only directs and delegates work but also rolls up their sleeves and pitches in to get the job done. This is the case in many organizations, especially those who are small businesses with limited resources or large companies where there's an inherent pride in having managers that also step in and pick up the slack. In some organizational cultures, the norm is that no one is too special or good to not share the work. While working managers may save the company unnecessary dedicated supervisory costs, or create a superficial perception that no one is above hard work, this approach undermines the role of a manager itself.

No one enjoys it when the proverbial boss is sitting back and relaxing while their team is burning the midnight oil. However, a working manager isn't the solution. Working managers often spend more time doing than managing, guiding, mentoring, leading, measuring and improving team performance. This undermines the overall effectiveness of the team, as well as eliminates the ability for the team to grow and advance their capabilities and productivity. It stems from three core problems with the working manager concept:

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