"Managers: who needs them?"
I must say, I find the topic slightly provocative. I believe the generic message in the editorial can be said about almost any role people don't understand themselves. The number of times, I have experienced frontline people and managers not "understanding" the techies' need for some strange item or policy, far outweighs the number of times, I have experienced techies not understanding what (positive) difference their boss made in their lives.
But of course, we have all (I guess) had our share of bad managers who screwed our lives up. However, I can say the same for any other role within my organization - or community for that matter!
In my opinion, the "right-sizing" mentioned by Matt Miller is the mantra. Together with the fact that only people who add value in their job are allowed to keep it for long. Unfortunately, bad performers slip through the cracks all the time, and some actually get to live their entire lives without "justice" being served..
So, to answer the question: "Everybody who knows what their manager do to facilitate their working life".