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The coronavirus and the opportunity to show why one is a manager

The coronavirus and the opportunity to show why one is a manager

Business | Artículo
  • Visitas
  • Marzo 2020
  • Fecha de publicación
  • Marzo 2020
  • Business
  • Artículo
Alejandro Martín

Alejandro Martín

Profesor y Director del Programa Superior en Dirección de Ventas de ESIC y Socio-Director de TDSYSTEM.

"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing things," Peter Drucker

Someone, important of course, once said that organizations are people. He was not wrong when he claimed such a thing. However, and this is my opinion, they are people, organized, resourced and with a clear direction to achieve a purpose.

I think most of us can subscribe to that statement, although some of us would like to nuance the edges of this definition.

The people

With regard to the fact that the organization is made up of people, I do not think that anyone today questions this statement, although we can see that there are still organizations where people are considered to be just another resource. And here, the key is in the more, since it makes these be included in the same category as chairs, computers, etc. And let me, without wishing to disrespect chairs and computers, say that I think we deserve a little more consideration, not just because of humanity, but also because a computer or a chair cannot be committed to the purpose and objectives of the company. The most they can do, which is no small thing, is to function in the moment when we demand it.

On the other hand, some organizations have " gone even further" and provided themselves with happy directors to make the organization an earthly paradise. For the record, if they succeed, I'm in for it. I am not saying that one should not seek happiness at work; I even recommend it. However, those happiness managers who help all the employees to find it in the organization, it would not be out of place to focus their efforts, commendable on the other hand, on suggesting to the managers that, rather than helping the employees to find it, they should not be the obstacle for them to find it.

Do you really believe that an employee needs his boss to help him find happiness or, rather, not to be hindered by a lack of means, guidelines and autonomy to do things well? Because this sounds to me quite like those professionals who try to entertain a child when they are entertaining themselves without intermediaries or magic formulas for it.

As I was saying, we work from home now. And I'm sure we would be very happy to have the resources, guidelines and support necessary to do our job well.

The way we organize ourselves

With regard to how we organize and plan our activity, and I say this sincerely, I believe that we are capable of doing it well.  In fact, things are going well; although, it has to be said, improvisation saves us from many situations and, why not, it also gets us into some trouble.

You might ask yourself: trouble? Well, you know, something which could have been foreseen in advance and hasn't been and something else which could have been planned and wasn't. Come on, get ahead of the events that, by the way, were already announced. I mean, here it is not required to have extrasensory powers, but simply to be a little foresighted. But we are "on it". And, with that, we must anticipate and respond to situations to which we are not accustomed and not wait "to see what happens" and then react slowly, it must be said. Here we can be very cautious when probably what a new and unknown situation demands of us is to give quick answers to unknown situations with a hint of uncertainty that until now we have not lived.

You'll think that means taking risks, and I don't deny it. But why are we managers? Because we have an office that's a little bigger than the others, because we have a more modern and powerful car? I want to believe that it is not that, that if we are managers, it is to foresee possible future scenarios, to establish the necessary precautions when acting without being paralyzed by their excess and, above all, to assume risks and responsibilities when proposing solutions to new and uncertain situations. The opposite is more "waiting to see what happens", acting "in the past" and like those meteorologists who make more of an effort to say what the weather has been like today than to predict what it will be like tomorrow.

The clear leadership

I suspect, and this is a guess from me, that driving on well-trodden paths is still routine. Not bad, but you can almost program it into a machine and give the order for execution. I think that is not what is required of us now, or at least not only that. We are now being asked to scrutinise those uncertain margins of business, those diluted boundaries where the limit is not marked, those ambiguities of the signs of a volatile and changeable environment in crisis. There, I am afraid, the routine protocol of management no longer works.

This moment requires managers to anticipate the circumstances that may arise, to react quickly to what is happening and to give priority to taking effective and bold decisions over the reservations of a fearful person. I suspect that the organization is overflowing with such fears, but it is key that they are not part of the management team at this time.

Ah! I almost forgot:

  • I don't think it's the best time to take the ego out and think that only one can achieve the purpose of the whole organization; the collaboration and involvement of all people is necessary. Let's treat them with respect and consideration.
  • I also don't think it's a good time to polish our medals, which some may still think of. Control by "breathing down the neck of the collaborator" is now neither desirable nor possible because of physical dislocation. Let's control, not people, but what is happening.
  • Finally, to "make an escape" sheltering behind contradictory institutional communications, which say a lot less than what they occupy, is not the most efficient nor the most elegant thing now. It is a question of showing up and being first.

The current circumstances, for all of us in management positions, offer us the best moment and the great opportunity to show why we were promoted to a management position and why we deserve to remain in it. Let us show it!

  • Fecha de publicación
  • Marzo 2020
  • Business
  • Artículo
  • Autor

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