Management Responsibility

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

To be effective, managers really need to be educators and not dictators in this challenging environment.


  • Recession continues = innovation & change needed
  • Survival before growth is a basic imperative

Inside Your Business

The Imperative: Genuine formal & informal communications and co-operation. Why? Everyone needs to understand and agree the value-to-them of this type of behaviour. It’s clearly a management responsibility to ensure that this is so. The general objectives are common, although some people may have specific objectives which are theirs alone. Everybody must still understand these specific objectives and the role that these play in the general objectives and what they can offer in terms of support.

To be effective, managers really need to be educators and not dictators in this challenging environment. The challenge for managers, as I see it, is to lead his staff to a new way of working which is developmental rather than confrontational. This is an ever-increasing challenge when redundancies are required and when wage rates are not only frozen, but are being reduced as an aspect of survival decision-making. These are the challenges for each manager in every single business in Ireland and in other countries of the world.

The Cause

There have been recessions in the past and there will undoubtedly be more in the future. We humans have gained a significant amount of new managerial skill-sets and understanding since the last recession and this evolutionary process will continue, so, theoretically at least, we should all be in a much better position to use these talents, this combined mass of knowledge and skills, to ‘get back on track’. However, it was also basic human trends, despite our growth in knowledge, which was the root cause of the recession in the first place. This is our species’ insatiable desire to have more than would be considered reasonable, in other words our greed. The expression ‘To make hay while the sun shines’ did not originate with the concept of trying to make more hay than was physically or practically possible, or borrowing excessively to buy more hay than is actually required.

At this point in time, the desire to figure out who to blame for the excesses of greed at political, financial, business and at individual levels is of little value, as the chief objective must be survival through innovation and change. While media love a good witch hunt with ample negativity and blame, it is not productive after the ‘horse has bolted’.

Learning from the Past to Improve the Future

This is just simply evolution, it happens all the time but unfortunately this wonderful, natural and necessary phenomena which has been the heart of the development of Homo sapiens is hampered by the species’ greed and ego. The historic analysis of how the world got it wrong in terms of recession can be the subject of academic research which will, should and even must be considered internationally by people with the intellectual capacity to make a difference and who are not tainted by the human failing which caused the problems in the first place. Such thinkers may be able to help enable the people of the future to be more scientifically aware and capable of avoiding the devastation of recession through civilised and practical monitoring and control mechanisms.

While it is very difficult and even potentially debilitating to put constraints on business people (i.e. the ones who are motivated to take risks to make profit), in a free democratic society it is crystal clear to most people that the alleged ‘leaders’ in financial and political arenas got it very wrong and appear, to a large extent, to be able to get away with this despite the gross sufferings they have contributed to and which affects the majority of the populations of nations around the world. This is what revolutions were made of and the situation in Greece is a good example of what can happen when the average person in the street gets very upset. Therefore change is an essential ingredient if humans are to become more equality focused to avoid general widespread hardship.

Meanwhile, what other practical and beneficial things must managers endeavour to do to successfully go through the imperative steps for survival? Above I have mentioned an attitude of mind, which recognises the need for understanding through communications and cooperation within every company. This is a practical investment in shared intellectual thinking with common purpose. This can be similarly applied to those companies we do business with, so as to maximise practical inter-company innovations which create mutual benefits in time, costs, science and across products and services and any other potential area of benefit. Again this requires managers at all levels to put time aside for such thinking and to put structured approaches in place which will allow innovation to surface and develop.

In essence, both the approaches for internal company and external business dependant or inter-company innovations are based on management ability to build productive relationships where such co-operation is gained willingly. Managers need to challenge themselves with such thinking.

On a much lighter note.....

I recently received the following offering from a friend in the UK who decided to put pen to paper to express his frustration with politicians - obviously they are in a similar situation to us here in Ireland. (To the air of Sing a Song of Sixpence)

Sing a song of parliament, 
pockets full of cash. 
fraudulently claiming, 
and adding to their stash. 
with their ploy discovered, 
they said they'll give it back. 
if you or I had done the same, 
we'd promptly get the sack.

Sing a song of freebies, 
snouts all in the trough. 
Giving back their ill-got gains, 
is just not good enough. 
Sponging off our earnings, 
with a likely tale. 
If working folk had done the same,
they'd soon end up in jail.

Sing a song of fraudsters, 
counting out their money. 
They smile and look quite unashamed, 
as though they think it's funny. 
Sitting in a secret place, 
counting out their dosh. 
On plugs for baths and cleaning moats, 
for crisps and orange squash.

Sing a song of MP's, 
who took us for a ride. 
It's up to us at election time, 
their future to decide. 
It's gone too far to bring back trust, 
of anyone in power. 
To most of us they'll always be 
a really great big shower. 
(And a bunch of crooks.)

Pat Sheridan, Managing Director, 1 Stop HR Ltd. Pat can be contacted at 021 4614020 or and further details are available at