Managing Better | 6 Lessons From Philosophers

by Shamsul
Managing people in Company
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They invite us to know ourselves, to doubt our certainties, to love others, to have courage. To lead and supervise a team well, let’s take inspiration from philosophers! Often going against the grain of preconceived ideas about leadership and managing things, the thoughts of Plato, Descartes and even Kant are a valuable asset for developing a true managerial philosophy and laying the foundations for humanist management. Philosophy lesson applied to better business life with Patrick Errard, author of Philosophy to the Aid of Management.

Managing Well Means First Know Yourself:

The received idea: Advancing in your career means becoming a manager. This is important in terms of social recognition.

Patrick Errard’s analysis: “In developed countries, career development is essentially based on a meritocratic culture. The promotion of an individual to higher levels, essentially managerial, relates to their good results. But this is no guarantee of his ability to lead others and managing them. Not everyone is cut out for this – and not being one is completely respectable –. But for many, “it feels good to be a manager”. This culture has produced generations of small leaders, who have not been prepared to be responsible for others.

In practice: Why am I managed or do I want to become one? Am I made for this? Ready to be? So many essential questions to ask yourself. Becoming a manager is a real initiatory path. It is deciding to “take care of others”, to dedicate at least part of your day to them, to move from “I” to “we”, and therefore to mourn a certain form of ego. This is contrary to our human nature, which pushes us to put our personal interests first. This therefore requires personal work and often, support. Especially since to be able to take care of other people’s problems, you must already have solved your own.”

The received idea: a manager must be sure of himself and have certainty to make good decisions.

Patrick Errard’s decryption: “We often confuse certainty and assertiveness. A leader must not be sure of himself but be assertive, that is to say, have commitment to his vision. It is normal for a manager to have doubts. It is much more dangerous for it to be full of certainties. When you hold a position of responsibility, you cannot base a decision solely on your own convictions and certainties. On the contrary, it is good to question them with the members of your team, to learn from their expertise, and then be able to confirm or refute your decision.

In practice: To manage well, it is important to surround yourself well. Not people who look like us but collaborators with different ideas and perspectives, who will know how to challenge us. “The variety of profiles is a firewall against the wanderings you might have if you were only surrounded by people who look like you and “yes-men.”

Managing Well Means Loving Others:

The received idea: To manage well, you must know how to control your emotions and not mingle to people.

Patrick Errard’s analysis: “There is nothing worse than cold management. It is important to let your emotions speak. They are an essential component of employee motivation. To create great energy, what could be better than showing your teams that they mean a lot to you, that they are essential to you? And in the name of what should we not attach to people? Of course, attachment should not become an addiction. But as a manager, it is fundamental to take interest in each individual as such. And it starts with the morning greeting. Recognizing others as existing means avoiding generic “hello” intended for a depersonalized collective and calling people by their first name, looking at them.

In practice: Showing empathy, and knowing how to put yourself in the shoes of others. Pull them up, and help them progress. Here are two major components of Better leadership. “On condition of being capable of loving others with a universal love, for who they are.”

The received idea: to make a good decision, you have to weigh the facts, without any emotion.

Patrick Errard’s decryption: “Dehumanized management, without emotion, does not know how to make decisions other than through purely mathematical algorithms and this is also the reason why they often make mistakes. To have the courage to arbitrate a situation, it is important to take into account the rationality of things, but also to let your intuition speak.”

In practice: We have all “not felt” a decision, a project, an idea. “Saying that we ‘don’t feel something’ has as much value as any rational demonstration. Courage is expressing this emotion, and then acting accordingly. Another form of managerial courage is being a leader means knowing how to oppose, sometimes, your own hierarchy. “If you believe that a decision is contrary to the collective interest, your intuition will, again, be essential to you. Without this strength to support your arguments, you have little chance of convincing.”

Better Management Means Knowing How to Sanction:

The preconceived idea: The stick method is effective in establishing your authority as a manager.

Patrick Errard’s decryption: “Bad only exists through good: if your employee does not have the notion of what is good, he cannot understand what is bad. A job well done is too rarely valued and encouraged. You have to know how to pick up the phone to congratulate someone. »

In practice: To punish bad work, who has never been ready to send a killer email? Perhaps “liberating” at the time, but counterproductive: “for the employee, it’s a blow and a source of stress. Result: his error has every chance of to be repeated.”

Another solution: take a moment to explain to the person what they should have done. “Through the interest you will show him, you will make him aware of the seriousness of the problem and send a motivational message to encourage him to improve.”

The received idea: Managing means being visionary, always anticipating and being focused on the future.

Patrick Errard’s decryption: “Obviously, a manager must have a vision of the future, of the evolution of the company, of the market. Of everything related to material matters. On the other hand, managing people by projecting them into an uncertain future, over which no one has control, is extremely anxiety-inducing. This is the principle of gurus, who have leadership by saying “tomorrow we will be number 1”. But this is not based on anything, it is futuristic incantation. If your boss tells you: “we’re going to start making big changes, you’ll see, it will be great”, it’s actually very distressing, because in concrete terms, it doesn’t represent anything.

In practice: Second pitfall to avoid: “it was better before”. “Managing people with nostalgia for the past depresses them. Recognizing the other and being interested in them, deciding and managing therefore, can only be done in the present. Because you are only alive at the moment you are at this moment. Tomorrow, you don’t know. As for yesterday, it has already passed.

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