It is amazing to me how much some managers need to be managed. I am not sure why this is. After all, the ability is built into the job title.
I have worked with numerous managers in the past who for the life of them cannot even remember the simplest things that they need to do. If you do not constantly remind them to do things it might never get done. I often joke with people that Program Managers should have almost nothing to do. If everyone just did their job and made sure the people who work for them do their job, then high level Program Management would almost be unnecessary.
But the ironic thing is that almost everywhere I have worked has a strong need to have someone coordinating the work of others. Not just other individual contributors, other managers. But why is that? My thought is that managers have not actually learned how to be managers. Most managers are just thrown into the job because they were very strong individual contributors. This of course is the exact wrong way to pick who should become a manager. We have a work society where your next promotion is almost exclusively determined if you did your current job well. But that is a little silly if you think about it. Just because I write solid code does not mean I have the people skills to be a good manager. In fact, it might almost exclude me from it :)
But in all seriousness, I think it is astonishing how much time and effort is wasted in managing managers. Perhaps if they were just given a little more training on how to be effective in this area it would not be such a problem. At the very least, their bosses need to be very clear what a manager is expected to do and what they are expected not to do. This is what I do. I give my managers tremendous freedom on how they need to accomplish their job but at the same time I make it very clear that their main concern is the proper functioning of their team and responsibilities. They should not rely on others, either myself or my Program Manager, to constantly remind them to do the things that are core to their job.
What have your experiences been like? Have you worked with a lot of mangers that need managing? Have you done anything to try and address this issue?