Warning: We Need Fewer Mangers, Mike LeJeune


Yes, while conducting research on the subject of leadership I’ve come to the conclusion we need fewer managers.


Distinctions have been written about leadership and management. Management being more of an administrative approach while leadership is more action oriented. A different approach is needed and expected today.


I recently found the definition of manager from an ancient Greek tablet.


Manager: One who knows little, yet speaks much.


This morning as I spent time with Rodrick Woods, a professional health and fitness trainer, I saw an experienced coach in action. As I went through my drills, he repeatedly pointed out to make sure I hit the pull-up machine (not my favorite given my less-than-buff upper torso). Grudgingly, I gave in and did the recommended sets. Before I left the gym, as I gathered my gear, I asked Rodrick why he was insistent on the pull-ups. He said,  “I watched you as you walked in the gym, and saw you were slightly bent over at the waist. When you walked, your shoulders stooped somewhat forward. Look at how you are standing now.”


Each time we meet, Rodrick’s gift as a coach is a keen focus on consistently improving my technique, finding different ways to increase my performance capacity. Additionally, he sees where my ability can be, not where it is today. He communicates his expectations with that in mind, continuing to raise the level of my accomplishments.


We need fewer managers and more coaches.


Great performers, true game changers have an internal drive to make things happen. Jennifer Lambert, a nationally renowned executive recruiter points out “I’ve found in my search career that A Players (game changers) have an expectation of generating results. They possess a focus toward generating results as opposed to an excuse oriented mind set.”


Game changers don’t need managing as much as they need coaching on strategies of what direction to go. Managers are up in the skyboxes, coaches are on the field in the middle of the action, calling plays, making decisions, rallying the troops.


Is your leadership style one of managing or coaching?


Here are simple signs that will point you to which category you might be fitting in:


  • When was the last time you called a huddle in the middle of the day to refocus or redirect?  Do you redirect the individuals on the team with short-term adjustments; assess newly formed circumstances to revise guidance or strategy?
  • What type of practice or drills have you created to improve individual technique and insure players on your team are game ready?
  • Would your team view you as obsessed with a defensive posture, concerned with managing to prevent mistakes rather than coaching to increase their capacity to perform by eliminating obstacles or roadblocks?

The people who choose to follow us need coaches, not managers. Maybe the question we need to ask ourselves today is “Am I in the game or up in the stands?”