Eleanor Roosevelt on Humanistic Business Management.

Treating employees as human isn’t new. The humanistic business management principles Eleanor Roosevelt used in her life and work.

Ok, so Eleanor Roosevelt wasn’t a Humanist, though she may have been. The problem is that the term didn’t come into popularity until recently. She was, however, active during the time that Humanist ideas were coalescing into a movement and she certainly would have been aware of the efforts of prominent people of her time to establish a better more humane and human approach to ethics.

I have been reading her book You Learn from Living, which I highly recommend (Get book here! ) Here is what she had to say about managing staff. It is totally consistent which the principles of humanistic business management. I am paraphrasing her here:

It is more effective to get staff to volunteer to contribute rather than demanding compliance. One is ordering, one is getting buy in. Ordering is easier but the work produced is not as good. Therefore it is a good rule of thumb to treat your employees as if they are volunteers.

Having been a volunteer manager myself, I agree with this. If you can learn how to manage volunteers well, those same skills work wonderfully with paid staff. They key to it all is recognizing that people are autonomous individuals. They can choose to do what you need them to do or they can choose not to. Even if you are paying them. So it is best to convince them of the need and get their buy in. That way you get a more engaged staff who does better work and who acts as if they are part of the team. And isn’t that so much better than managing people who are just punching the clock?

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