Return to Blog Home Page

03 March 2008

Leader / Manager / Doer

In many work environments you will find a similar pattern emerge. If you look at those you work with they will typically fall into one of three categories. We typically refer to them as leaders, managers and doers. But those aren't the only names for them.

In fact, a while ago our team read through a book together and we got to learn a lot more about these three. The E Myth Revisited calls them the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician.

Now these three roles don't operate in isolation and just because someone is in one of the specific roles doesn't mean they won't be involved in the other two. But it's still a pretty easy task to split people up into one of the three areas.

In our department here is how I see things working out:

  • Leader: We do have an identified leader. However she still manages and does stuff. But for the most part she needs to be leading our team and thinking big picture.
  • Managers: We have a few of these - people that oversee the day to day workings of the department but aren't typically responsible for getting it all done.
  • Doers: Then we have those who get things done. They don't need to be involved in big decisions nor do they need to be responsible for timelines and production schedules. They work best with a very specific task list that can be checked off when each item is completed.

There is definitely interplay between the three areas. We want leaders to be able to help out in the trenches, we want managers to be capable of leading well and doing things to help the team. And we want doers to be able to lead volunteer teams if needed with some level of management skill.

Encourage well-roundedness just don't require it.
The problem with requiring someone to step outside their role is that you tend to decrease their effectiveness in their strength area:
  • If the leader has to do too much they will have a hard time seeing the big picture.
  • If the manager has to do everything and think big picture they may not be able to ensure the day to day gets done.
  • If the doer is responsible for the end product and ensuring the timeline is set up correctly they may never end up doing what needs to be done.

Yes - it's a work in progress for every team.