Undoing the Shame of Management
Management is the bully on the playground.
At least it is for too many managers in too many workplaces. Management has become captive to its disciplines of monitoring, evaluating, planning and controlling.
Consequently, too many managers cannot see a different way to manage. More specifically, managers have grown blind to regarding their employees as people. Instead, employees have become mere resources to be controlled, directed, scheduled and monitored.
The disciplines of running a business have mistakenly been attributed to what’s needed to lead employees. We must undo this shame of management. Today we ought to know better that people cannot be led with disciplines essential to forecast sales of widgets or services.
Employees have become mere resources to be controlled, directed, scheduled and monitored.
No, we need to lead people with disciplines grounded in our humanity – the actions that evoke passion, compassion, joy, optimism and enthusiasm to do great works.
As human beings we have always rejected the actions that treat us like lifeless robots. So why should the disciplines of management continue to be confused with the disciplines of leadership? The time is now to separate the two.
We must re-evaluate to course correct and re-learn the art and business of leading people to do great works on behalf of the organization.
Managers manage spreadsheets, project plans, and sales forecasts. Managers lead people through inspiration to want to achieve the needed results of projects and sales forecasts. Managers treat people as human beings… not invisible, faceless assets absent from balance sheets.
The convenience of treating people like resources is no longer tolerable. It is far easier to treat employees as merely replaceable cogs on an assembly line. Of course most workers today are knowledge workers and have nothing to do with assembly lines.
It is the astute manager who recognizes the shift and reclaims the art inherent in managing and leading people: treating employees as people with aspirations, ideas essential for business success.
We need to lead people with disciplines grounded in our humanity – the actions that evoke passion, compassion, joy, optimism and enthusiasm to do great works.
To undo the shame of management is to recognize that it takes people to make business run… not strategy, spreadsheets, or some outdated viewpoint that people are resources.
Note: The phrase “shame of management” is not my creation. I picked up the phrase after listening to a talk by the scholar R. Edward Freeman at Conscious Capitalism 2013.