In my management class at UCLA we do mini case studies to help the students better understand issues.  One case describes Jerry who was a great worker, team player and helped his group successfully finish projects on time and on budget.  His boss wanted to make him the manager of the team, he refused.  The manager insisted. Guess what happened!

Jerry started missing work not performing as well and the team suffered.  Why did that happen? What’s the big deal?  He was getting more pay and still with the same team.

Dr. Ken Nowack created an assessment in which he could divide a work force into 4 categories.  Each had their own motivation and reward requirements.  The 4 are Manager, Generalist Specialist and Entrepreneur

  • Manager: This person wants to be in charge and receive recognition for it, and eventually want the title as well.  They often have what i call the “I love me” wall showing all their certifications and awards.
  • Generalist: They do not want to be in charge and prefer to skim the surface and know a little about a lot of things.  They are ideal on a team or a project.  Cross training is also good for them. Just don’t make them lead
  • Specialist:  These are the people who want to drill down into their preferred area and want to know everything there is to know about their field  Often, they are engineers accountants, and other professionals. They might also be hobbyists who love a certain time in history  or excel in a craft  Sending them to conferences or providing information in their specialty is greatly appreciated.
  • Entrepreneur: You will find them at any level of the company and in many industries. They like variety, flexibility, and autonomy They are risk takers and can be spotted by their questions. why can’t we do this? What would happen if? How can we change that? Robert Kennedy’s quote  There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? might be their mantra

Jerry knew He was not meant to be a manager and he should have been allowed to stay where he was doing the right job for him.

You may say but wait, many of us are a little of more than one category, and you would be correct.  The key is where are you most comfortable. I have had executive potions in the past before I started Training Solutions and was president of a large professional non-profit and had to demonstrate leadership in each place.  While I was exhibiting management skills ,I am much more the entrepreneur  I often asked for forgiveness rather than permission and I didn’t do things for the accolades.  I appreciate the compliments but that is not my driver.

Where do you fit? Are you in the right job?  What are the signs you are or aren’t?  What about your staff?  Please share your comments and observations