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Being & Management

Demands for Mindful Beings

Management theorists are proposing that organizations need to tap the potential of their staff and release their creativity. However, that means managing them in a more empathic and individualized way from a work perspective. This involves, in turn, perceiving, using, understanding and handling their inner experiences. It also demands the renunciation of bullying, controlling and angry attitudes. In association with this development, a variety of old ideas are re-surfacing under new names. «Emotional intelligence» is typical.

In addition, completely new ideas and Frameworks are also surfacing. For example: appreciative inquiry, which self-evidently demands functioning on the plane of mindful being—and turns out to have a surprising location in THEE (unpublished).

The issue is important: can the world of management function on the psychological plane of existence-RH'L2? To answer that question, it is necessary to have a picture of management in a typical organization that offers customers or clients tangible products or services.

Requirements on the Practical Plane-RHL1

THEE posits that achievement in conventional organizations flows from making decisions and taking action-RHL1. A series of frameworks along those lines has been developed using the PH'1-TET shown at right.

Zones in the Personal and Task Axes that explain key distinguishing features of the decision methods.

It follows that practical managers are required. Recruiters seek to attract people who operate on the Practical Plane-RH'L1 and have an unequivocal orientation to action-RHL1. Firms want staff who are competitive and oriented to making profits, maintaining or increasing market share, running efficient operations, and so on.

Not only that: those in management (and indeed all employees) are expected to be agents of the organization and not their own selves. «Being an agent» is to view your self instrumentally-RH'L1: as a commodity to be hired out or bought for the right price. Once recruited and contract signed, you are given instructions that must be followed.

This is Practical Plane-Instrumental Being thinking, par excellence.

As a result: handling people and situations is the essential skill, not empathizing and understanding them. Sensitivity, beyond what is required to get jobs done and avoid a riot, is more of a hindrance and should be downplayed.

Problems on the Psychological Plane-RHL2

The focus of the Psychological Plane-RH'L2 is on inquiry-RL2 rather than action-RL1. Under pressures for achievement and competition, it is difficult if not impossible to routinely give the time required to understand properly how everyone involved feels. If many staff are not operating on this plane, understanding is particularly difficult.

The primary demands on managers are for desired outputs, not ethically correct choices. Minimum standardsThis is a form of ethical authority found in all societies: sPH"6G4 must be maintained, but dithering about ethical niceties is unwanted. Convention ends up setting those minimum ethical standards: so instrumental beings do what everyone else does—while conscientious whistle-blowers have their lives made utterly miserable.

If leaders were on the Psychological Plane, the organization would develop its own individualized minimum standards, which, typically:

Solutions for Mindful Employees

Option 1: You Select Special Roles

Psychological existence-RH'L2 is possible within organizations, but in selected roles—those where mindfulness and sensitivity are part of the role requirements e.g. in departments for training, personnel or organization development; or working in organizations devoted social care, education or psychological health.

Option 2: Leaders Create a Special Context for You

(Not Really for You Personally, but for Everyone)

Any leader who wants managers to be more empathetic-creative-aspirational and less instrumental-impersonal-bullying must change the cultural context at work. There is no other way. This is not about leadership as widely trumpeted. The majority of your staff exist on the Practical Plane, and they are not going to change just because you ask nicely or lead brilliantly. However, no-one is condemned to be only instrumental, and fortunately, skilful navigation of social expectations and conformity are features of instrumental ethics.

This means your down-to-earth managers are spontaneously sensitive and responsive to their social context. Change the cultural context and their behaviour will change to fit. This can be handled via the Spiral of Growth framework. Once this understanding is absorbed, the principal leadership requirement is determination to make it happen.

ClosedMore on the Management Culture Spiral

Option 3: Avoid Large Conventional Organizations

Organizations that generate non-tangible outputs (e.g. social products, intellectual products, artistic products) recognize that the mind generates the product and taking action comes afterwards. These should therefore find it easier to support staff who operate on the Psychological Plane.

Very small organizations, where everyone can know each other, also offer greater potential for attunement, awareness and ethical functioning.

Originally posted: 12-Oct-2012.

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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