My job is to coordinate the successful launch and running of training courses. I participate in the actual training only occasionally, instead leaving it to others. I generate the training materials, however, with input from several stakeholders.

While the courses are running, I manage a team of trainers whose job descriptions include both training (that is, running the actual sessions) and "other duties as assigned". At the end of a course I submit evaluations for the trainers.

Running the courses successfully requires us to do more than just show up to the sessions - we need to set up the rooms, accommodate trainee schedules, book equipment, and work with other teams of trainers to coordinate our efforts. Ostensibly, it is my job to ensure that this gets done, but it is not necessarily my job to do it myself.

My current "management" style is to choose one of my trainers to take responsibility for one of these things. For example, "Jane" might be the coordinator of room bookings, while "John" might be the inter-team communicator. My job, then, is really to make sure that the right person gets the right task at the right time, and to ensure that it gets done, and to mentor the trainers to ensure they are able to excel.

This gives me two benefits. First, it helps me to justify the trainers' evaluations. It lets me give them excellent ratings since they are given the opportunity to do more than just run sessions all day. Second, it simplifies my job, since I would otherwise be doing most of the coordination.

It's that second part that bothers me. Although I'm definitely filling my 40 hours, I feel that most of it is filled with just shuttling around emails and keeping track of schedules. I feel that I'm not personally doing a lot of this work, and that I'm basically just shipping it off to my subordinates.

From my description above, am I actually managing my team, or am I just putting additional burdens on them that I should be handling myself?


1 Answer 1


You can delegate authority, but not responsibility.

It makes complete sense that you have others do some of the work - directing the activity of your team is management 101. The effectiveness of your team depends in large part on you. And you obviously cannot do everything yourself (otherwise you wouldn't need a team).

Ultimately, it's you who are responsible to see that the tasks get done properly, and in a timely manner. It's not ostensibly your job to ensure that things get done, it's actually your job.

Most managers have two roles - managing others and doing work themselves. As manager, we each get to decide how to most effective split those roles. It seems like you are doing just fine. Ultimately results are what matters most.

  • 2
    Further to this, if your -team- is happy with your management style, and you're getting the results you need, that's a sign you're a good manager. Employees expect different levels of involvement from their management team: many people excel when given the autonomy implied by the original post. A sense of ownership does wonders for work quality, for the kind of worker motivated by that.
    – darkside
    Sep 25, 2019 at 17:08

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