More of the same–building silos

A major hurdle of moving from independent contributor to a people manager results from the reward system of the organization.  In most technical organization (R&D, finance, manufacturing, sales) the success of an individual is measured by their output or productivity.  Therefore, an individual’s success is dependent solely on their own hard work; failure is their own.  

Moving to management means that an individual’s success is dependent upon other people–or so it seems that way.   If your team succeeds you succeed; if your team fails, you fail.  To prevent failure, a new manager will often continue to do their old job as an individual contributor, not doing what they were actually hired to do.

To further solidify their own success (through the team), the new manager will pour resources into their own team, hire new people to make their team more successful, protect their team members from other team leaders, limit scope creep.  All to maximize productivity and success. 

Together this results in the super individual contributor.  Effectively, the super individual contributor does the same job they did before, but now has an army of followers.  This team allows the super individual contributor to just do more of the same as what they did before.  

When team leaders are solely focused on their own success, because that is how they are measured, teams cannot work together.  The result is a workplace of silos.

Jonathan Shaver