Like Line-Management 101
One of the functions of a line-manager is to know how to ensure that the skills pool does not suffer the inconvenience of indispensability.
It is important that a team has experts, knowledgeable people whom we can trust to get things done, yet, it is essential that the expert does not become someone we cannot do without.
That means, there should be someone else able to do whatever the expert does, maybe not as neatly or as quickly, maybe needing some help and guidance, though not necessarily poise to replace the expert, only being there to backfill if necessary.
Continuing Line-Management 101
Part of this line-manager activity is having the resource to get a job that usually gets done by their team available when that job needs to be done, with caveats obviously about the alacrity and finesse. One often needful element is to ensure that the experts document all their procedures and processes, should in case, someone needs to act in the expert’s stead.
A line-manager would have somewhat failed in their responsibility if at the point of need, they have failed to adequately provide resource to fulfil a requirement that all they have is excuses that would adversely affect an operational activity.
Fan, shit and no table – Line-Management failure
At this point, the shit might well hit the fan in an uncomfortable escalation, the line-manager having poorly provided for the consequence, in not having a table to hide under when the shit starts flying.
Sometime ago in an exchange with a colleague, I wrote a rather tersely worded email when it seemed to be looking for who to blame rather than take responsibility for what he was tasked to do. “I cover my arse by doing my job rather than by looking for someone to blame, you should try to do that too.”
The response was a protest, but he had not hiding place, he was exposed just as a line-manager can be exposed by avoidable personnel management flaws.
So there …