The virtual hyperbole and bathos of modern management

Davos, Switzerland, views of the Congress Cent...
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In this age of hyper everything and the era of a superfast, constantly connected and switched on virtual world, many of our leaders and managers are losing sight of both reality and humanity. They are becoming ‘virtually’ robotic in their interaction with others…

Many of those erstwhile human skills of empathy, honesty, integrity and compassion are apparently outdated and considered somewhat ‘old hat’ by many. Is this really a productive ethos and more importantly, is it the correct way to behave from a moral point of view?

Whilst musing about the events at Davos 2011, Tim Weber, BBC Business Editor asked; We’re all hyper-connected, now what?

If the technology and business leaders at the World Economic Forum have got it right, the impact of this development will be far deeper than most of us imagine… (Read more)

Most employees can now have as loud a voice as the chief executive or the head of communications, in our permanently connected world. And, any leader or manager that underestimates that fact should realistically be destined for personal failure. In general within business that’s correct, take the recent Deepwater Horizon debacle in the Gulf of Mexico as a prime example. The incident was, financially deeply damaging, for both the BP organisation and many of its executive staff.  However, it’s a pity the same can’t be said when high profile adverse situations befall those within the public sector!

The BBC article went on to examine what to do when the shit hits the fan, some of the comments from business CEO’s and heads of corporate communications were interesting…

“At best, a company has 12 hours to get a credible story across to the public.” And “be consistent”, another chimes in. In the connected world, “there are more opportunities than ever to be caught out as a hypocrite; you have to be authentic”. “Treat your employees with respect and stick to your values,” advises another. (More at BBC)

Straight talking or the ability to genuinely say what you think and think what you say is considered to be far too dangerous these days. Hardly surprising I suppose, given the media witch hunt and blame culture mentality of our society. Consequently, every leader and manager usually needs to choose their words very carefully. Especially when they are concerned about self-preservation of their position. That said, the clever and contrived use of words may be ok for a machine but that ethos is simply not acceptable when dealing with issues impacting upon those you are responsible for i.e. your employees. Any manager who truly wants to be valued by their team, whilst providing inspirational leadership to greater things, really needs to get a grasp of more human skills, as opposed to robotic ones… 

An Essay on Criticism: Words are like leaves; and where they most abound, Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found. (Alexander Pope)

It’s a pity so many police (and public sector) managers talk the talk but rarely walk the walk these days… In Tubblog – the ramblings of an IT consultant, the author whilst talking about a West Midlands Police experiment with Twitter recently said – “The bottom line is – it’s all about communication, both giving people the opportunity to engage with you if they choose to do so, acknowledging them, and keeping people ‘in the loop’.”

The recent handling of redundancies by North Yorkshire Police (and other public sector agencies) is a typical case in point. With the current and prevalent management methodologies we are heading towards a great storm of public dissent…

The Iliad of Homer: The day shall come, that great avenging day, Which Troy’s proud glories in the dust shall lay, When Priam’s powers and Priam’s self shall fall, And one prodigious ruin swallow all. (Alexander Pope 1688-144)

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