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It's a scary situation, indeed, Ann. But I don't think the solution requires as much change as the alternatives you list might indicate.

First, you can expect teleworking and other remote working to increase, driven by a variety of forces. That will almost inevitably lead to a wider span of control and fewer managers for the same number of knowledge workers. This is doable when combined with increasing worker autonomy, which we should be doing anyway.

Second, the problems with the job are mostly caused by things we're doing wrong, not by the nature of the work. I discussed the problem in some detail in my recent post "Poof! You're a boss." ( http://blog.threestarleadership.com/2009/07/30/poof-youre-a-boss.aspx ). Here's a quick summary.

We promote men and women to bosses' jobs for all the wrong reasons and expect them to be instantly comfortable and productive, without much training and with very little support. There has to be a better way and we know what it is.


Thanks for the thoughts - and love your "Poof!" post. It speaks very directly as to why this problem exists to begin with. We need to start treating management as the critical role it is. As you say, we know this (most of us, at least) - we just have to act on it.

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