Ever heard anyone complain about their manager being useless?
Managers are often promoted from local staff based on some merit system of management. They get to move up and will likely lose their skills related to the job. This is normal. In some cases, managers are still expected to do the same work as before as well as do all the managerial work. This is not ideal!
Managerial work is still work. It requires time, meetings, phone calls, reports, and some secrecy. When I manage people, I provide them guidance (or mentoring, if I can), listen to their input and request of them to do tasks I assign as diligently as they can. I help to set the boundaries of testing and acceptance, the quality level, the time and budget constraints, and the enthusiasm to complete the tasks or project.
I in turn expect my staff to be honest with their estimates, keep me informed of their progress in an honest fashion, tell me when there is an issue so we can work on its mitigation together, and to do what they say they would do. I treat them with respect and dignity and expect the same in return.
Occasionally there are details that must be kept secret or are not necessary for the staff to know. This is one subtle layer between staff and management. Another of my jobs is to follow my team members’ progress and make sure they keep to their tasks. It is also necessary for me to ensure any areas of risk are being properly addressed or vigilantly observed.
I am not likely to do my team’s job. I would not need them if that were the case. I might have done their job at one time or another, or something similar in the past, but I as the manager am not compelled to do their work; I am there to delegate the tasks to the best resource.
This does not make me useless, but rather the grease between the moving parts. I am there to make sure it all gets done according to our plan.