ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why Great Managers Succeed: They Understand Their Real Job

Updated on June 4, 2014

In an earlier article I explained that the primary reason managers (and supervisors) fail is because they are not properly trained. Most get promoted into these positions because they have very good technical skills (they know how to do the work), but once promoted they are not trained on the specific skills needed to manage people and departments. And they don't understand what their real job is.

A Manager's Real Job

Yes, you are capable of doing the technical or professional work performed in your department. Maybe you can do it better than anyone else (that's why you were promoted), you like doing the work, and training others is time consuming. So it seems natural to keep doing much of the work yourself. Don't fall into this trap; doing departmental work is not your job (unless you have a very tiny department).

Your real job is to perform the duties only a manager can and should do, and to leave the actual departmental work to the people hired to do it. Spending your time on non-managerial work means you won't have time for your managerial duties- your real job. You may even be so busy doing non-managerial work that you perceive questions from your employees as interruptions- something you should never do.

But here is the biggest problem of all: if you don't delegate appropriate work to your employees you stifle their growth and development, minimize their opportunities to achieve and to be motivated, and you lower overall department productivity.

As manager you are judged on the success or failure of your people. Measurements such as department productivity depend on everyone's combined efforts, not yours. Your real job is to nurture and coach employees so they excel individually because your success comes from their collective accomplishments. Since your success is so closely tied to theirs, you should do everything in your power to help them succeed.

Consider the Departmental Wheel 

Think of your department as a wheel: you are the hub and each employee is a spoke. Your real job is to make each spoke as strong as possible. You do this by hiring the right people for each position, designing meaningful, challenging jobs that provide opportunities to achieve, providing necessary training and education, helping individuals set goals, coaching as needed, monitoring performance, and making adjustments as necessary.

Think about it. If you maximize the effort and output of each person in your department, each spoke in the wheel will be strong. If you build a strong team with support for one another and for departmental goals, everyone will be moving in the same direction. With a successful department you will be perceived as a successful manager. By focusing on everyone else, you are helping yourself. You will benefit as much as they do-perhaps even more.

Conversely, if your department wheel has weak spokes, it doesn't matter how hard people work. Your department will always be mediocre. Weak spokes will consume much of your time, perform poorly, require careful watching and inevitably someone must clean up their mistakes. Furthermore, tolerating weak employees is unfair to your strong employees. Poor workers cost you time and money while they are on the job and while you spend valuable time replacing them.

So remember, your real job is to nurture, develop and coach your employees, and to get the work done through them- not to do it yourself. Beyond that your real job is to perform duties only a manager can do. In the next article we will discuss delegation, a key skill of great managers.

Steven R. Smith is the author of Managing for Success: Practical Advice for Managers, a concise, 150-page guide to help managers and supervisors succeed. It is based on the author's 42 years of industry experience at 15 different companies. For more information on this book go to:


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)