Managing with Humanist Principles

Ethical, strategic & compassionate management. Sounds good doesn’t it. So why do so many managers fail to live up to this ideal?

First: many managers don’t receive training on how to be a manager. They get promoted from within and learn on the job. They do their best using the skills and knowledge they have acquired so far.

Second: Those that do get training rarely get training on how to manage people and ethics. They get trained on what needs to happen and how to report to even more senior managers. How to make ethical decisions in the context of your new role? Not covered.

Third: those that do go to business school are rarely taught the human and ethical aspects of management. A lot of what business school is about is finance. They focus on strategies to get work out of humans and in managing the bottom line. In other words how to balance the needs of the company with the need to make money and to ensure that the process through which goods and services are created and delivered are done in a way that maximizes profit.  If they get ethics training it’s usually in the context of how to not break the labor and environmental laws in the pursuit of profit.

The role of a manager is to coordinate the work of a group of people to accomplish a certain task. This work has to be coordinated in a way that a) gets the work done and b) gets it done in a way that is economically efficient. What is missing from this definition is that the work be done ethically.

For me, a humanistic manager is one who gets the function of management done in a way that is ethical, compassionate and strategic. Because a manager has to balance many competing demands, it is critical that they learn how to be strategic. This requires them to learn critical thinking and strategic planning so that they have the capability to make difficult decisions with competing demands so that they can accomplish the tasks required in a way that is ethical and effective.

If we don’t prioritize the ethical side of the equation and focus only on being effective, we don’t have good management. We have ok management. It’ll do management.

If we want managers to be ethical, strategic and compassionate, we have to prioritize those values and skills in our management training.

If you are looking for humanistic management training for you and your staff – I have a couple of quick online programs that will help.

1) Principles of Humanistic Management:
2) The Seven Sins of Staff Management:
3) And if you want to provide a new manager orientation that includes these management programs with sexual harassment training – consider my new manager orientation bundle: 

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