I don’t remember where I learned that my job is to make my manager successful, but I think it may have been at McKinsey. Obviously that wasn’t the entirety of my job, but it was an important part.
I say this, because I’ve held onto this belief, and added to it, by also considering it my job to make my direct-reports successful.
“Success” can mean many things, but for me, it’s about making sure they are supported in their learning and growth and are able to make meaningful impact. This applies both for my manager and for my direct-reports, and I take this responsibility very seriously.
I was thinking today that it would be a wonderful organization where every employee viewed their jobs the same way. Every person, regardless of position — managers and non-managers — feel the weight of others’ success as a determinant of their own. This would drive great organizational citizenship and concern for others. And everyone would feel supported by the people above and below them.
A smart guy I was talking to a few weeks ago said something that reminds me of this notion. It was about wishing that every human being felt responsible for future generations. Kind of like being a citizen of infinite time. People would act differently if this were true.