Don’t worry. My purpose is not to say managers are going to be useless, but only to update a few notions. Intrapreneurship have been (slowly but surely) gaining ground in a lot of heads, that’s not someting really new. But the turn the economy is making makes this concept more and more important today, as we also have tools to organize all that which didn’t exists 20 years age.
With the intrapreneur employee, endowed with more autonomy, working in and with networks, the “command & control” management is close to its end. It was the best organizational answer in a given context and as the context is changing, what it generated has to be cleaned up.
Without “command & control”, will the manager become useless ? Not at all, and his role will be more and more valuated. Ok, those who were very comfortable with “command and control” will have to make some efforts but since it’s the enterprise’s upper goal that implies changes, resistants will have to deal with that.
What will have to change is that managers will have to become the facilitators who link competences in a network, who stimulate and give means to succeed. That already must have been true but will become essential : the manager is the one who helps his team, who sees his success through his team’s. No importance is given to the fact is more expert than the people he manages (anyway a good managers is the one who recrutes people who are better than him and takes the best from them). No need to be the best soloist to be the best conductor. Executing and managing are two different things and that’s not because one’s good at one that he’ll be goog at the other. We all, at least once, realized that the best person to move a group is not the “best” person of the group but the one that has specific skills to make people do things.
Tomorrow’s manager will rather be a connector.
And who to manage the managers ? A CCO of course ! A Chief Community Officer, who would be in charge of building the appropriate organizational pattern and provide people with the appropriate tools.