The idea of managing people in organisations is absurd.

By: Kamil Toume

The absurdity of management comes from the ingrained fact that still plays in the live imagination of most managers. They think that they can manage people like reports, capital and assets. Their management ideas are loaded automatically when they assume their positions. Their management thinking and style are inherited from the traditional schools’ system which is still preaching and teaching the factory model of management used in the 16th and 17th centuries. Obedience and the sunrise to sunset working pattern are the hallmarks of the factory model.

Nothing has changed. Management in today’s business world is still the process of dealing with or controlling people and things. Managing people in organisations is taught in most business schools and actioned in companies. The absurdity of management and its inherited and taught concepts are the very fact that management is for things, capital, systems and assets not for people. Most managers proudly say that we lead people not manage them. Statistically and practically speaking, the true concept of leadership is misunderstood and misapplied in most companies and the evidence is the constant stress in corporate environments, redundancies, layoffs and unhappy people.

kamil toume

The worst part is when managers book their places to attend leadership training which is just an advanced course in managing and controlling people. Following the course, the carrots and sticks system is still the governing performance review system. Dangle the carrot, wave the stick and get the necessary behaviour from people. They attend leadership training and the language of fear through layoffs is commonly used. Leadership is about empowering people purposefully and humanely not the art of dealing with people’s conflicts and conducting performance reviews. It is not about managing staff absences and motivating them to reduce sick leaves.

Leadership is genuinely about inspiring people. To inspire people, your purpose as a leader and your business one should speak volumes about the cause that you uphold and stand for. Unfortunately, most leaders and their organisations are purposeless. They often uphold and chant abstract statements “the vision statements” which do not even inspire those who wrote them. Leadership is about creating social, joyful, empowering and growth inducing environments. Leadership is about making people feel safe, happy, valuable not stressed and replaceable.

The absurdity of management is that most managers view leadership as another way of leading people which is another problem. The problem is that people do not desire to be managed or led, they want inspiration which is a subject that has never been taught to managers.

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