For Subscribers

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.

learn more about Andrea Olson

By Andrea Olson

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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:

Continue reading this article — and all of our other premium content with Entrepreneur+

For just $5, you can get unlimited access to all Entrepreneur’s premium content. You’ll find:

  • Digestible insight on how to be a better entrepreneur and leader
  • Lessons for starting and growing a business from our expert network of CEOs and founders
  • Meaningful content to help you make sharper decisions
  • Business and life hacks to help you stay ahead of the curve

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

The Dark Side of Pay Transparency — And What to Do If You Find Out You're Being Underpaid
Thinking of a Career Change? Here Are 4 Steps You Can Take to Get There.
A Founder Who Bootstrapped Her Jewelry Business With Just $1,000 Now Sees 7-Figure Revenue Because She Knew Something About Her Customers Nobody Else Did
Everything You Need to Know About Franchise Law
Business News

Carnival Cruise Wants Passengers to Have Fun in the Sun — But Do This, and You'll Get Burned With a New $500 Fee

The cruise line's updated contract follows a spate of unruly guest behavior across the tourism industry.

Business News

'You Didn't Even Try': Aldi UK Ripped Online For Accidental NSFW Candy Shape

The marshmallow "Bunnies and Chicks" rolled out to stores just in time for the Easter holiday.

Business News

'Fake Work' Was 'Exposed' By Layoffs At Google And Meta, Says Former PayPal Executive

Keith Rabois, an early PayPal executive, said that large tech companies needed to shed some workers.


6 Secret Tools for Flying First Class (Without Paying Full Price)

It's time to reimagine upgrading. Here's how to fly first class on every flight, business or personal.

Business News

Amazon Is Starting to Let Customers Know What Products Are Returned Often

The e-commerce giant has begun flagging certain items that were frequently sent back.

Business News

'Crying Northwestern Kid' Turned His Viral Fan Moment Into a Successful Harvard Admissions Essay. He Says the Experience Taught Him About Empathy.

Six years ago, Phillips was watching No. 8 Northwestern take on No. 1 Gonzaga during March Madness when he became a meme.