I recently read a post, that talks about busting the “I can do anything” myth for a manager. These were some fundamentally sound thoughts and should be read by all managers and aspiring managers.
But then, these thoughts might help a front line manager. Leadership is not just about inspiring, motivating etc, agreed, but then is it about being the specialist? In my opinion, being a specialist will not pave way for a holistic picture of the business and environment in general. Leaders and managers may not, and in good many cases, cannot grow if they are functional specialists. The chances of growth are more if we are operational specialist, people who know a bit of everything, and everything of something. Did Bill Gates know anything about marketing or sales or HR when he started off? He was a specialist. But, could Microsoft have become so big if he had not known a few things about all functions without being a specialist in them?
For a manager to grow, the “I can do anything” myth is definitely not going to help. But knowing what you can do, getting help in places you cannot, knowing what questions to ask, understanding the right problems to solve, a deep understanding of the stake holders who are going to be benefited by solving the problems, etc. can be the key for leadership success and generally, leadership growth. It then boils down to a more fundamental thought – Humility. What will help a manager grow is the “I can manage anything” confidence, but a deep rooted knowledge and acceptance of the “I don’t know everything” humility. That way, the manager not only grows, but also helps the specialist grow by asking the right questions and brining into focus the specialists at the right time.
What do you think? Do you feel being a specialist is probably the best way to grow? Do you feel working at being a “true” generalist is not a good use of time? Or what else do you think is the best organic growth factor for a manager?