Obsolete Yourself!


The best managers are ones who work to obsolete their roles.  Is this bad advice for managers especially given these economic times?  Job security is all about being unique and knowing things others don't know, right?  Well, managers need to consider how best to add value to the company and to the team.  Managers don't add value by keeping knowledge to themselves or by continuing to do what they're comfortable doing.  Managers need to take on new challenges.  But like everyone else, managers are very busy, so how does one find time for those new challenges?  Managers need to delegate, but be smart about it.  Think through all the work you do and figure out what tasks are appropriate to give to people on your team.  This may depend on how senior they are, what their interests are, what their expertise is, and whether they are set up for success.  Some tasks to delegate can be big tasks, and some small.  Some may continue to need the manager to monitor and others may be appropriate to hand-off as independent work with casual follow-up.  Those decisions need to be made by the manager or person delegating.


Once some tasks are delegated, a manager can take on new tasks, potentially this may be work his/her boss was doing.  And then the boss can take on more work from their boss, and so on.  The more tasks that can be delegated, the less that specific role, as it was defined, is needed because the work has been distributed.  And the new role that the manager is doing involves different tasks and responsibilities more similar to the boss's role.


As managers continue to work in this model, over time most of their initial responsibilities have been given out to others in the team.  Not only are these great opportunities for others to grow and exhibit new skills, but overall the team becomes more senior as they gain experience in doing these tasks.  That is what I mean be obsolete yourself.  The goal, in essence, is to give away your tasks to others so they have opportunities to grow and at the same time you can take on new responsibilities which change your role into something quite different, but still challenging and rewarding.