What if we reversed the roles of manager and staff?
We think that the manager must lead the important work, and it is the job of the staff to support him (yes, usually a him). If he wants coffee you fetch coffee. If he needs to present a slide deck you make a slide deck. If he has to report numbers you fire up Excel.
But what if it were the other way around? What if the job of the manager were to supply the team with everything they needed to be effective?
Then the job of the manager would be to make sure the coffee pots were full and the pencils stocked. They would need to book network resources and keep the offices beautiful. They’d provide peer support and all the education the job required. And more than it required, because enlightened staff are happy and creative staff.
Managers wouldn’t just pay a wage, but a salary that both respected the experience and investment it took staff to get there, and took stress out of their lives by taking care of their family.
All would work to leave mental space to do the job.
The job of the manager is to hire the smartest people possible, act as a blocker to keep problems off their radar, and keep out of their way.