Head of the Quality & Risk Management Organisational Unit
In your opinion, do managers solve or cause problems?
It depends on managers (at all levels), the capable ones solve problems, the others often cause them, usually inversely proportional to the managerial skills of their subordinates and the resources they manage. The good ones have vision, both strategic and overall, they know how to point in the right direction, and above all they know and can decide whether and when to delegate or direct or lead or simply support a resource in a specific activity. I’m aware it’s not easy and it requires commitment, hard work and psycho-physical stress, but if a manager doesn’t have these qualities, or is distracted and stops to be an effective leader, he (or she) can create serious problems that are difficult to recover from quickly.
Quality as a human factor: how to involve staff in values and objectives?
The main ingredient is an effective internal communication on every level, using and taking advantage of all “cross” instruments potentiality, such as the corporate intranet, and specific instruments, such as training and progress meetings, even at individual organisational structure. Regarding personal goals, I think it’s useful and constructive to directly involve the concerned person in their definition. What has been said can be enough only for goals: values can be transmitted with example, because communication and involvment are not enough.
A great XIX century Prussian general developed an interesting matrix to classify his officers: “I divide my Officers into four categories: the intelligent, the stupid, the willing, and the lazy ones. Each Officer possesses at least two of these qualities. The smart and willing ones are suitable for high roles in the General Command. The stupid and lazy ones can be employed too. The man who’s both intelligent and lazy is suitable for the highest command position: he has the temperament and the cold blood needed to face every situation. But the man who is stupid and willing at the same time is a serious danger and must be immediately removed.” After more than a century, do you think there’s something current?
This is a very current topic, but it’s incomplete compared to the progress made to date in Management and Leadership. Next to the rational intelligence, emotional intelligence has become important too, defined sintetically as “the set of skills needed to achieve goals in social transaction that generate emotions”. People who have a great emotional intelligence have self-awareness, self-control, motivation, empathy and social ability, and are able to communicate, to solve conflicts and problems, to make decisions, to be a leader and to guide in the right direction better than others. Moreover, in the latest theories of managerial skill development and resource enhancement, we no longer speak of lazy and willing but of motivated and unmotivated; the difference is huge, because laziness is preceived as innate and unchangeable, whereas motivation can be cultivated and can consequently grow, but also can damage and therefore diminish. Using a more technical language, we have moved from a Cartesian model based on the variables intelligence and laziness to one much more adherent to reality and based on capacity (intellectual and emotional) and motivation, in which we do not define what task to give the resource but how to behave in order to enhance it.
A message to share.
My more professional side would choose a message in which I firmly believe: "the winner sees a solution to every problem, the loser sees a problem in every solution", which sums up well my idea of the right mental approach to work. But getting a bit out of the box, I remind a phrase by Khalil Gibran (as a good sailor I love it very much): "Reason and passion are the rudder and sail of our sailing soul"; for me it also applies to work. Reason gives you direction, passion for what you do makes you fill the sails and go fast. And when there is no passion? There is a sense of duty, another precious value that should never be lost.