So I read a lot of management books. It’s a bad habit I got into whilst doing my Master’s, and I can’t seem to kick it.
As such, probably 19/20 books that I read are either textbooks or some kind of self-help book. And I’ll admit, I get a lot out of many of them. The techniques that come out of Lean Management are really quite useful, and it really does take 2-3 runs at it before it really sinks in to a level of understanding that lets you apply it.
But as I’ve read more of the books on Leadership and People Management, I’ve managed to boil down pretty much all of the advice to one simple axiom: Don’t Be a Dick.
I know that it’s fun to jump around and Occupy places and scream that the 1% are ripping everyone off, but I think that most managers and leaders don’t think that way. Sure, there will always be evil rich people, but there are also quite a few evil non-rich people as well. Lots of murders and rapes have been carried out by perfectly non-rich people. Evil seems to be related more to being human than being a member of the C-suite.
I’m probably going to keep reading into management and leadership, and so far I’ve been given a number of opportunities to try out the techniques. I’m sure that there will be many more to come. So I’m going to apply my “One Habit of Highly Effective People” and try not to be a dick – not to the world, not to my friends and family, and not to my self. I think that if you can pull that off most of the time, then you’re onto a good thing.
It’s hard sometimes. It’s easy to be a dick to yourself – it’s much easier to give into sleeping in a little longer, not exercising, and choosing a Docu-drama over reading a book. It’s easier to swear at people riding their bike to work whilst you enjoy your air-conditioned car, and to watch a movie instead of practicing your hobby.
And it’s really easy to be a dick to your friends and family. It’s easier to ignore your wife than it is to open yourself to understanding why they are nagging you. It’s easy to put down your friends because “they are cool with it.” And don’t get me started on how easy it is to be a dick to children. You can exercise your power all the time on them. It’s dinner time now, so sit your arse down. No TV until you eat your greens. I’m going to have a beer whilst you cry yourself to sleep.
Even the most dyed-in-the-wool environmentalists can easily be a dick to the rest of the world. How many chemicals are used in every Prius battery?
Anyway, to not be a dick most of the time is hard work, but I’m going to give it my best. I’m sure I’ll falter some times, and there will be times when I don’t even realise what it is that I am doing wrong, but that is just part of being human, right? So long as we commit ourselves to continually improving, getting better, and understanding the rest of the world, then I think that everyone has the potential for improvement.
And with that, I have finally managed to keep my promise to myself and write another chapter of Arctic Gale this week. Sure, I’m only 70 minutes away from the end of the weekend, but I managed to get through it. Let’s hope I can do the same next week.
AG Chapter 10 is now here: https://cplcrud.wordpress.com/arctic-gale/ag-chapter-10