What Management Owes the Individual Professional
post # 497 — February 4, 2008 — a Managing post
R Sigrid van Roode, from th Netherlands writes in with the following question:
“Our company will start improving our consultancy using the input of your book True Professionalism. I have carefully read the book (as have all my colleagues) and I have found a situation in my work that to me seems paradoxical.
“In achieving happiness and fulfillment in work, you encourage the professional to start and change himself first, take initiative, show enthusiasm. It is not advisable to wait for the company itself to change: that will never happen. It is also not advisable to ‘blame’ the management: that turns the professional into a victim of his surroundings (which a real professional would never allow to happen).
“The paradox is: professional and company/management are, in my view, interdependent. They fulfill each others needs and in a way facilitate each others existence. What is the role of the management in a professional organization, specifically when it comes to encouraging and stimulating the professionals?
“Actively seeking a positive attitude towards work and client is obviously the main responsibility of the professional himself. How can the management of a company pick up on that positivity, that initiative? If the initiative of the professional is not met and answered by the management, the incentive to try and improve oneself, to walk that extra mile for the greater good of the company, will simply be non-existent. The professional will most likely leave and try to find that reciprocal relation elsewhere. In short: how does one manage a professional?
“Any light you could shed on that interesting subject would be greatly welcomed! Could you for example perhaps point me in the direction of literature I could read on that subject?”
The role of management in my view is to:
(a) Provide a clear purpose for the organization, so that the individual can decide whether that purpose is one they can believe in and contribute to.
(b) Help the individual find his or her passion, providing alternatives, encouragement, support during rough times
(c) Provide clear and honest feedback
(d) Enforce common standards so that the individual is part of a community of like-minded people of whom the individual can be proud.
Does anyone else have different answers?