The Crucial Management Task

by Shaun Kieran

You’ve probably noticed that managers and supervisors – at virtually any workplace – are pretty good at remaining calm, conciliatory, and tend to “make nice” when they’re dealing with an angry customer, a client, or a problem with an employee.

That’s because it’s basic and central to the job, it’s probably even written into the job description, and we’d all be shocked if it wasn’t what mostly happened.

So, we take self-control and professionalism in the workplace for granted, but we’re also not really that surprised when it doesn’t hold true for the same person on other fronts – a ballgame, say, or a political rally. And sadly, we know all too well that things might even be far worse than that behind closed doors at home.

The fact that we can be different individuals, in different domains, is something we all know about, but we’re accepting it more than we should. It’s a big part of what’s going wrong “out there.” Being able to compartmentalize is a good,  necessary tool,  but doing it all the time without seeing the damage it does – to the world as well as ourselves – is a major, potentially tragic mistake.

Being “real” is overrated if it means your real self, the real you, is the one that unloads emotionally whenever the coast is clear – on exes, political adversaries, anyone lower on the social ladder, or, worst of all, vulnerable family.

The point is that many people have told me directly that being promoted to a supervisory position made them a better person, because it forced them to be serious about managing themselves, their feelings, and what came out of them. That’s encouraging I suppose, but it also makes me sad.

It shouldn’t be that a paycheck is the only thing that motivates you to manage yourself.

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