Volume XX, Number 49 (Issue 1001) December 5, 2022
Eight Questions Chapter 1 – One Size Does Not Fit All
Let’s be honest, herding cats would be easy if cats were not part of the equation. Likewise, leading would be easier if it didn’t involve people. But, as we all know, the first requirement for someone to satisfy the definition of a leader is having at least one person who is willing to follow them. Yet anytime the subject is people (or cats), they unfortunately have minds as well as dispositions of their own. The added challenge with people is our differences are not confined to variances in personality. That is merely the starting point. Some of the other significant differences between us are found in our socio-economic backgrounds, race, ethnicity, gender identification, educational experiences (both in quality and level of attainment), marital status, family size, religious beliefs, personal and professional histories, and age (more specifically, our generational distinctions). To this complex and outsized mix, we can add a score of subtle, some might say, nuanced differences that make each of us special and unique. Take our dreams and aspirations as one key example. One’s personal value system is another.
Still, in the final analysis, people are people. We all have our personal hopes, dreams, and a litany of fears to go with an assortment of gifts, talents, and frailties. In that context, little has changed in centuries – provided you do not count a radical shift in two things. The first of those shifts is the recent embrace of a group of enlightened management concepts. That is not to say these concepts are new or revolutionary. They have been around for at least two thousand years. However, prior to eighty or so years ago, the prevalent and possibly only management model in use was what is known as a command-and-control style. Practiced throughout history, reaching its zenith in the industrial age, and regularly reinforced for generations within the military, command-and-control management is all about conformance, compliance, and top-down decision-making. Those in charge make the rules and the rest of us must stay in line if we hope to keep our job, let alone advance within that hierarchy.
But then came management gurus like Peter Drucker as well as a host of social scientists including the likes of Abraham Maslow and Douglas McGregor who began examining not only what makes us tick, but also how to best leverage all that untapped human potential. It was their work along with the efforts of others who
have been able to stand on their shoulders who started identifying and decoding the best attributes and practices of effective leaders.
As mentioned in the preface to this series, managing, more accurately, leading a diverse workforce is one of those key skills and abilities. To do that well requires an appreciation for the numerous variances in today’s workforce. Next, having “read” each member of our audience, we must discern the best way to play to each of them.
That is important because of the second seismic shift that has taken place. That shift, if you have not been paying attention, is the willingness of recent generations, notably Gen Y (or the Millennials) and Gen Z to give voice to as well as act on their expectations. No more patiently going along to get along for them. No doubt prior generations had those same thoughts and ambitions. But it was not until Gen Y began pushing back against the status quo that the need to revisit and retool our leadership styles became an imperative. That change is where understanding the different generations and the events that shaped them comes into play. So, that is where we will begin Chapter 2.
Soli Deo Gloria
“I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.” Philemon 1:6-7
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Transforming Potential into Unmatched Performance
Copyright 2022 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. The entire early library of Monday Morning Musings issues may be found at www.jkeithhughey.com. Your comments are welcome and encouraged.