Social (VIII) – So, where is the conundrum?

The real issue today is between people, connecting them again through every means possible. Without trying to do kitchen psychology, we have to create more opportunities for employees to exchange, whether on a personal front (HR, mentor, coach) or on a professional front (brainstorm, quality circles, conferences); people need to feel the link amongst themselves and with their bosses.  Without going into the excesses of trying to solve every bit of difficulty we each face in our lives, we can facilitate daily stresses with some quality time spent just listening to each other, feeling part of the same team and adhering to the same values, thus pulling productively towards the same goal.

In French, the leader or manager is often referred to as a “patron”, a word whose origin is “pater” in Latin or the father figure.  Not to mention “boss” whose origin goes back to Pilgrims’ arrival in America, we have long lost the only “male” reference.  But, this goes back to complementary natures of man and woman characteristics in organizations; today, it is paramount to balance the paternalistic view with the mother figure, especially as enterprises have lost the plain nourishing image.  That is to say, use the stick and the carrot, authority and sensitivity, smart and sensible, etc.  Like any family, we need both parents to raise the child at best.  Round in circles, back to basics!

With the Renaissance, we opened the road to humanism but we all know it was mostly based on reason, thoughts and logic.  How about the 21st century, birthplace of the knowledge industry and the connected world?  Can it bring forward a revival of humanism with a new dimension based on love, feelings and emotion?  This is where we can open up to the other side of our intelligence; after the IQ, there is the “EI” or emotional intelligence.  Companies have touched upon “EI” over the past ten years but a lot remains to be developed to get employees to feel fully taken into account as individuals.  We call for a balanced humanistic approach: reason and love!

It is reassuring to see that you find the same in academic research. Good bosses face three imperatives in becoming a great leader as they endeavor to manage their networks, manage their teams, and manage themselves.  Harvard Business School professor Linda A. Hill wrote a sequel to her first book of 1991, “Becoming a Manager”; in “Being the Boss”, she describes the new challenges. In short, being a good boss is about much more than wielding authority; this is what we have tried to show in this working series (Social I through VIII)… We hope this helps the business world understand and face this new challenge!


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