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By Nick P.

When discussing management, the first thing to do is to obviously ask, what is management? The dictionary has the first definition as;To direct or control the use of; handle: manage a complex machine tool. It is only when we get to the third definition that we see something of a company in mind.;To direct the affairs or interests of: manage a company; an agency that manages performers.

But is this really a proper view of people? Are we to view people as just complex mechanical tools? Are we to say that they are merely performers? Is this not defining people by what they do instead of who they are? Perchance we should start at another definition of;lead.

The first definition of lead given is;To show the way to by going in advance. Now this is an idea of how to make a company run well. The best way to show someone what to do is to give an example. Do we not do this in the athletic world for instance by holding up someone like Michael Jordan as someone a young basketball player should emulate?

But again, we also need to be clear on what it is we are leading. The terminology I detest to use as people are not whats but whos, but before we determine they are whos, we have to use a more ambiguous term like whats. It might seem strange to some that I have to defend personhood of persons first, but I think that is essential.

In our society, we have lost track of what persons are. An underlying philosophy starting in our culture was materialism that stated that persons consisted of matter and nothing more. If this is so, then humanity is no different from the animals in essence, or even different from the mechanical tool in essence.

The only difference we have is that our matter contains more information than the matter of the robot, but the matter is still matter. The way you train a human being then will be the same way you train a dog. Now while we can draw analogies in any situation, we must be clear that human beings are not dogs.

But can a person really be said to be just a body with no essential difference from the animals? If a person was to be in a car accident and lose their right arm, would we say that they were less human? While it would be true that they would be less able to function as a human with two arms, they are just as much human. By that example, we can see that a person is not equal to their body.

Furthermore, if humans were merely matter, then what is the meaning of the word "I?" "I" refers to someone but who is this someone. If someone says "I am in love," are they saying that their body is in love? If someone says "I am selfish," does this mean that their body is selfish?

Such traits we know are held by individuals. The ancients knew they had a soul because they participated in introspection. They knew when they reflected on themselves and the characteristics that they needed to change, that they were not thinking about their bodies. True, one can reflect on one's body but one knows there is a difference even if one is not aware. In fact, we would often chide someone who had what would be considered a nice body with a horrible attitude. We know that the person underneath is not equal to what is shown on the outside.

While animals have beliefs, they do not have beliefs about beliefs. An animal does not reflect on its mother and then write out a thesis on what it is like to be a cat for instance. Such thinking is not a new idea but goes all the way back to Augustine. People are capable of thinking about their thoughts and are capable of seeing eternity. They do not live with only the temporary in mind. If some do, then we even say that they are being foolish.

This is all to say that persons are unique and individuals. A materialistic view rested on behaviorism. If you do A, B will be a natural result. Yet imagine people walking down the street when there is a scream as a little old lady is being mugged. Some people will call the police. Some will run themselves. Some will go and defend the lady. People respond differently to different situations because people are different.

If I push the "B" button on my keyboard, I am sure that a "B" will show up on my screen and thus far, it has proven correct. However, there is no button I can push into a person in order to make them do what I want. I can coerce and there are many powerful ways to coerce, but the choice belongs to the individual. Even the man at gunpoint being told, "Your money or your life" has a choice.

This does not work for persons. We cannot assume that everyone will respond the exact same way. We can take some generalities though. We can state that most people would prefer to be loved, would prefer to succeed, and would prefer to survive, for instance. However, the ways they go about this are drastically different.

This is found by considering personality types. The D type is a leader who likes to be dominant. D-type personalities take charge quickly. They can tend though to not want to show shortcomings. Also, whenever a strong D-type meets another strong D-type, sparks will fly as each prefers being in control.

The I-type is the crowd pleaser. This person prefers to be the center of attention. The I-type can walk up to complete strangers and start a conversation. The I-type readily shows emotions in public. If the I-type is not getting the attention they desire, they will suffer for it.

The S-type is the submissive type. These people make great secretaries. If anything needs to be done quickly and effectively, the S-type is the one to go to. They will try to maintain the status quo. Unfortunately, they flee from change like the plague and can tend to be used as pushovers.

The C-type is the calculating type. This type prefers to analyze everything. Give them a clear and logical argument and they are ready to go. They have to know the "Why?" of everything. Their problem is that they can be perfectionistic and because of their over-analyticalness, their worst critic is themselves and everything will be taken extremely personal.

This author is a strong C-type with a secondary strength in D. Such mixes of the various types are common. People are not slaves to this as even an S type can get severe if their children are in danger for instance, but as a general rule, people will tend to respond to their unique personalities.

So how does one handle these people? The first thing we do is we remember that they have value in and of themselves. Too often organizations train on policy without training people. If policy is seen as the way though, then people will be treated as either a hindrance or an aid. The people will never be the way in and of itself.

If, on the other hand, people are seen as what makes the business go, then policy will be the hindrance or aid. In this case, the company will be prepared to scrap policy long before it scraps people. Policy was made so that it could serve people. People were not made to serve policy.

We must also remember that these people are not ignorant or incompetent. The way to view people is not as robots that need to be programmed to do a task. Such a view places the manager in a position above the employee that they don't need to be in. The manager will assume that it is by their divine knowledge that the employee can do the task and when the employee has a complaint, the employee will not be listened to. After all, it is only by the divine knowledge of the manager that the employee can function.

If such a view is taken, then the employee will also only be a passive person. They will simply do what they have been told to do and what they have been trained to do. However, when a situation that is not covered in the book comes up, the employee will be stuck and not know what to do. This will in turn, create more dependence on the manager, thus making the employee even more passive.

When all is said and done on this view then, the employee will be reduced to a robot. Their personhood will be lost and with that, their ability to be new and innovative. Without new and innovative employees, the company will not be able to bring in the next generation of workers and is doomed to failure.

Too often, this is how the employee is seen when coming in. Thus, the management is forced to keep tabs on the employee to kick all the kinks out of the system. The belief is that the person is flawed to begin with and must be fixed before they can do the job.

What if the opposite way was used though? What if the employee was viewed as able and at most, might need a tune-up? By this view, the employee is led and not managed. The employee is shown by example what to do and then set loose to do the task. If the employee has a new idea on how to do the task, it is encouraged and examined. If shown to be a bad idea, it is explained why. If not, it is embraced. The employee gets treated seriously as an equal and any mistake is then seen as being possibly the mistake of either side.

The way to do this is to not concentrate on things the employee does wrong but on things the employee does right. These are praised on a regular basis. The employee builds a good view of self as an individual of value. In turn, they will be a harder and more effective worker.

Naturally, mistakes will be made. These are dealt with in a loving way. The employee on the praise is praised mainly on attitude but on reprimands, the employee is reprimanded based on action. The action the employee did is in error but the employee himself is still a valuable person. This must be clear. A DISTINCTION MUST BE MADE BETWEEN WHAT PERSONS ARE AND WHAT THEY DO!

In turn, the employee will be more capable of handling things on their own and less likely to make a mistake not for fear of punishment from the boss, setting the employee in opposition against the boss in the long run, but for fear of letting down the boss, emphasizing that the employee and boss are on the same side.

We all know this is true from experience. When one buys a new computer, one does not but a repair kit the first day. One enjoys the computer and works on it to make it do the things needed to do and fixes problems when they come up. Would that we viewed people as well as we view computers!

Such a job would bring about unity among the company as well. Each person would believe that the other was fully capable of doing their job. Each person would then also help the other to do their job. Yet if employees are competing to please a boss, then how can they work with their fellow employees? Instead, they will end up working against them.

The manager's job then is not to tell the employees what to do. The manager's is to empower them to do what they need to do. The manager is not so much a manager as a motivator. The manager is one the employee can come to if in need of advice, not so the manager can solve the problem but so the manager can guide them to the solution. Were the manager to solve it, then the manager would again be creating the dependent employee who is not capable of acting as an individual.

In rare cases, one might have to let an employee go. For the company doing well, this would be a rarity. However, if one had to do this, this would not be an event done with delight. The manager should take no joy out of this as this is an individual before them who needs help.

Furthermore, when the stiff reprimands come, these should not be held over the head of the employee. An employee working under duress will work less effectively as he is not there to please the customer but the boss. This is another fine point that must be stressed. YOU CANNOT FUNCTION IN THE PRESENT IF YOU LIVE IN THE PAST!

The employee must be corrected then and there or as soon as possible when a mistake happens. When an employee is told about something months afterwards, the employee will then learn to live with fear and distrust of the manager. Such fear and distrust will ultimately lead to working against, and not working with the manager.

The reason is that the employee will feel that the threat is one to be conquered. To conquer the threat will prove the manager wrong. Obviously, this will mean that the employee will believe he is in the right and the manager in the wrong. What the manager wants, the employee will tend to go against since the manager is in the wrong obviously.

Instead, the employee who has been actualized to want to do well will not want to make a mistake and when notified of one, if they have a desire to bring about the best for the company, will do all they can to avoid such a mistake again. In essence, the mistake will become the teacher.

The key to success in a business supposedly is the customers. This is only part of the truth. The employees must be pleased as well. While the customer pays 100% of the salary of the employee, the employee pays 100% of the salary of the manager. A business with just managers will not survive.

When it comes to being offensive, the manager should realize that there are times to offend. When an employee is being offended, the manager has the right to offend the offender. If we value our employees, we will defend them. We know that one employee pleasing one hundred customers will mean more than the loss of one customer. Losses will happen in any business.

Furthermore, if one employee is allowed to be walked on, then others will notice this as well. Some may pass over it but your strong C-type personalities will suddenly start questioning their own value. Considering these are the thinkers of the group, one doesn't want them analyzing the situation and sharing it with others. The S-types will resent the C trying to change and the D will want to bring about correction. Meanwhile, the I-type will not be able to focus as the C is getting the attention rather than them.

But the C's are essential. They will be the ones that do notice the problems and when all are working together, they can share the ideas that the D's can implement, the S's will gladly submit to, and the I's will do as well due to their desire to please people. Employees are valuable and must be defended.

In conclusion, a manager should lead and not just order. They should view their employees as persons. They should seek the independence of their workers as ones who are fully able. They must praise their employees and uphold their self-worth. Lastly, they must defend them from all who would seek to intrude upon that. If all are done, one can be assured that the company will be blessed in the long run, and the people will be happier and more productive workers.

Email the author at ApologiaNick@wmconnect.com