Bringing the Virtue of Honor to Management
Management has become a dirty word.
It’s ubiquitous with bureaucracy. It’s an art becoming devoid of meaning. It’s been bandied about in ethics scandals and cloaked under the guise of “doing what’s right.”
Yet while managers have done their fair share to mess up the effectiveness of management, it still remains one of our great inventions. To be fair, it continues to positively evolve in response to the times. And there are great men and women who advance the art and science of management relevant to today’s times.
Management’s effectiveness, however, is taking a beating these days. Stalled out in too many organizations are good men and women seemingly paralyzed to act with intentions to do right by employees in order to help the organization achieve its goals. To help employees achieve their goals. To improve the communities in which they exist.
Management needs a renaissance. It needs new life breathed into it. The virtue of honor could help bring management into the 21st century. The principles of honor imbued into how we manage and lead could offset the destruction from command-and-control styles that have arguably no room in today’s organizations.
Management has become a dirty word. It’s ubiquitous with bureaucracy. It’s an art becoming devoid of meaning.
Look up the definition of altruism and you’ll learn that it’s a selfless regard for others’ wellbeing. Corporate ethic scandals have become hackneyed news stories. Honorable managers act to improve the workplace, communities, society… even maligned segments of the population… because they have access to people and resources that can make the difference.
The questionable bonuses doled out to senior managers for underwhelming results destroys trust and tarnishes management and leadership disciplines. Honor instructs us to want what’s best for the team, the organization, for society over individual needs.
Honor in being a manager upholds an important belief that people have the right to be respected and given the opportunities to apply their talents to tackle organizational and even societal issues.
To be a manager of honor requires the constant pursuit of having a good character.
Management needs a renaissance. It needs new life breathed into it. The virtue of honor could help bring management into the 21st century.
A person with a good character acts with integrity, is ethical and relies upon and summons direction from one’s values and leverages them unwaveringly.
A manager who is principled habitually acts in an upstanding manner. Whether giving credit to staff for excellent work or refraining from petty turf wars that only reinforce fiefdoms and silos, a principled manager is always building the traits of good character.
Why does any of this matter?
The rate at which we are depleting our employees, misusing the power afforded to us as managers, and greedily pursuing business opportunities that benefit only a few is not sustainable.
On this Memorial Day, while we pay tribute to those who have fought wars for our country, displaying honor up to their deaths, we can learn from such brave soldiers. This leaves perhaps the most compelling reason to bring honor to management – fighting for what’s right. Imagine if we had more managers willing to do what’s right even if it meant the death of their job or career.
That would be honorable.
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