Advertising
Advertising

Management and militarism: Just who are we fighting?

Management and militarism: Just who are we fighting?
guards_in_bearskins.jpg

Two of the greatest influences on management thinking and practice have been the militaristic politics of the Roman Empire (via the Roman Catholic Church—a masterpiece of top-down, centralized, hierarchical control) and the world’s armies.

Look at the words we use: “command and control,” “stuck in the trenches,” “didn’t have the firepower.” We “attack the issues head-on.” When people oppose us they “shoot down our ideas” or “get us from behind,” forcing us to “retreat in disorder” or “give up without a fight.”

Management and leadership books are full of military phrases. Leaders are expected to be “steady under fire” and “take the fight to the opposition.” Colleagues praise those who “tough it out” and “show what they’re made of.” For small businesses, there is “Guerilla Marketing.” Even words like strategy, tactics, and leadership itself began on the battlefield.

Advertising

Does it matter? I think it does. The words we use to describe things reflect our mind-set in thinking about them. To a large extent, they determine the way we think about issues and the solutions we choose.

The distinctive language of Hamburger Management
If a manager describes competition with another company as “a war to the death” or “a fight to the finish,” a subtle message is being conveyed that this isn’t going to be a civilized rivalry between organizations. Warlike language produces warlike thoughts. If a team is told to “take the other guys down,” they’re not going to hear that as an instruction to behave with courtesy, sensitivity, or understanding.

All this macho, militaristic language, with its overtones of fighting and winning, inevitably produces an effect in the hearers. If we constantly “attack problems” and “take no prisoners,” where is the need to understand or get to the heart of issues? In our haste to “chalk up a victory,” there’s no space or time for compassion or thoughtfulness.

Advertising

Militaristic language is also quintessentially masculine. Perhaps that’s another, hidden aspect of the problems women face in organizations. If success is described in masculine terms—“winning the fight” and “destroying the opposition”—it’s little wonder if career women feel the only way to succeed is to take on masculine attributes.

Hamburger Management—that mix of aggression, cost-cutting, macho posturing, and ultra-short-term thinking that characterizes so many organizations today—uses harsh and warlike language almost as a reflex. That’s because it so accurately represents that way of thinking, with its emphasis on winning at all costs and “taking no prisoners.” And the more that type of language is accepted into executive suites, board rooms, and even training classes, the less likely we are to see the behavior implied by such language as unacceptable in any way.

Beware what you call things
It’s time we thought more carefully about the words we use and what that is doing to our thinking. Are the military virtues of aggression, dash, obedience, and heroic resistance truly what we need in organizational life? Do we want every disagreement turned into a “last-ditch defense” and every rivalry into a “fight for territory?”

Advertising

William Tecumseh Sherman said “War is cruelty” and he knew, better then most, what he was talking about. Importing the language of war into boardrooms and management suites quickly brings some of the cruelty along with it.

At the start of the twenty-first century, it seems our corporate leaders —like many of our middle managers too—are being encouraged to act more like Roman centurions battling the barbarian hordes than thinking, civilized managers.

Is that what we really want? When managers retire, do we want the “war stories” they tell their grandchildren to be truly tales of war?

Advertising

Be careful with your words. People around you will pick up on the overtones and subtle implications of what you say, as much as the meaning itself. Your subordinates will often act as you sound, not just as you ask. Customers too.

Unless you want your daily work to take place on a battleground, try using language that better expresses the civilized arena we would all like our workplaces to become.

Adrian Savage is a writer, an Englishman, and a retired business executive, in that order, who now lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his other articles at Slow Leadership, the site for everyone who wants to build a civilized place to work and bring back the taste, zest and satisfaction to leadership and life, and its companion site Slower Living. His recent articles on similar topics include When organizational loyalty creates a culture of fear and The importance of NOT doing things. His latest book, Slow Leadership: Civilizing The Organization, is now available at all good bookstores.

More by this author

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science Quit Your Job If You Don’t Like It, No Matter What What Highly Successful People Do Every Day To Perform At Their Best How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps 6 Simple Steps to Make Progress Towards Achieving Goals

Trending in Work

1 Feel like Giving Up? 16 Way to Help Entrepreneurs Stay Motivated 2 How to Quit Your Job That You Hate and Start Doing What You Love 3 8 Things to Remember When You Don’t Know What to Do with Your Life 4 Master These 10 Management Skills to Become a Strong Leader 5 17 Things You Need to Know to Achieve Career Success at Any Age

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 16, 2018

How to Quit Your Job That You Hate and Start Doing What You Love

How to Quit Your Job That You Hate and Start Doing What You Love

Everyone of us has a plan in our head that was taken over by family responsibilities, social pressure or sheep mentality. This made us a slave to instant gratification and started killing our plan and dreams.

There is a way to revive your plans and dreams and live a happier life. No amount of salary can exceed your desire to do something that you are really passionate about.

If you hate your job and have thought about leaving your job, here’s how to quit your job and start doing what you love:

1. Identify if you really want to quit to follow your passion

There could be many possible reasons to figure out why you are discouraged to go to work and start thinking about how to quitting your job. Figure out the reasons or signs that make you feel that you should really quit your job.

If these reasons are not related to your office environment or your ultimate goal is to pay your bills from your job, you should consider getting a new job in the same field. It’s better to be an experienced receptionist than to live a dream that is not yours.

2. Start with the side hustle and keep it going

Work after you get back home and build up your product or service enough to gain confidence to quit your job.

Build the website, write down the business plan, design your product, make marketing collaterals or do whatever it takes for you to start working full time on your new venture before quitting your current job.

You could also consider part-time working opportunities if your current job sucks a lot of your energy. This way you could save your energy and dedicate more time to your side hustle.

Ensure that you don’t quit until your new venture really demands your full time dedication. You might lose interest in your new venture if you fall short of survival money.

3. Save enough to pay your bills

If you need to pursue your passion, you need your monthly bills to be taken care of, without any worries. You must cut down on unnecessary expenses and squeeze in those extra bucks on your savings while you are at your current job. You should forget those weekend parties and social outings unless they’re meant for networking.

It makes no sense to quit your job without having any savings. Your new venture will not start paying you immediately. Starting a recurring deposit account is a good idea to start off with. Put aside a considerable amount every month as soon as you get your paycheque and forget about that money until you quit your job.

4. Write down your goals

It is important to have visual proof and a daily reminder of why you quit your job and started a new hustle.

Advertising

Write down your goals and read them at least once a week. If you are a forgetful person, create cell phone or desktop wallpapers of your goals and set them until you achieve them. Visual proof keeps you on track.

These goals are the bigger picture of what you wish to achieve in your pursuit to doing what you love.

For example, if you are wish to design the best dresses in the whole state, write it down. If you wish to fly to Mars, write it down. If you really wish to give up your career for something, it better be worth remembering everyday. Show it to yourself daily.

5. Make a plan

Write down a plan of action for the next 12 months. It’s like writing down an elaborate execution plan in your calendar. This could be a daily, weekly or monthly to-do list of your tasks to achieve your goals.

Learn how to make a plan if that’s not your area of expertise. Ensure that you know what you’re going to do next and not run like a headless chicken after two months of working for yourself.

Review the plan time and again to track your progress. This will give you a clear picture of your performance and your shortcomings.

Also, have a backup plan. Even great planners and strategists fail before achieving success. Ensure that you have a second plan if your first one does not work out as you predicted.

6. Get professional advice

Talk to experienced people in the field you want to venture out. Go to networking events and connect with people in your industry. Most people will help you out with good advice and good contacts.

Get professional courses in part time colleges. It could be great to network and the teachers can be of great help to understand more about the industry. They will help you analyse your plan and connect you to influential people.

7. Prepare yourself to put a resignation

Prepare yourself mentally to quit your job after you’ve realized the potential and prepared yourself to take a deep dive into your new profession.

Leave on a friendly note. Don’t make enemies with your bosses. These connections could help you further in your profession.

Don’t burn the bridges. It’s better to have a face-to-face conversation with your boss or reporting manager than sending a surprise mail.

Advertising

Tell them sincerely about your new venture and why it is important for you. Serve the notice period completely and work till the last day. Complete all your tasks as you would on a regular day. This will maintain your respect and keep your relationships intact.

8. Be prepared to get your hands dirty

As an entrepreneur, you have to do everything that’s needed to keep your work going.

You have to perform all the tasks needed to keep your new venture going. You have to be a janitor, an administrator, an accountant, a designer or a salesperson all at once.

There would be a point of time where you will have to perform tasks that aren’t your favourite. Be ready to perform such tasks without cringing.

9. Have no baggage

Don’t have a debt! Clear all your loans, debts and pending commitments before starting off. You want to fully concentrate on your new activity and not be bent down by loading your shoulders with any burden.

You would want to enjoy your freedom to work incessantly. No distractions whatsoever are allowed to come close to you when you are fully involved in the rhythm of development. Shun away materialism!

10. Don’t be in two minds

It’s good to analyze the best and the worst possibilities in your head, but it’s not at all good to doubt yourself.

Move ahead with confidence. It’s your life, your plan and your rules. Nothing and nobody can stop you from doing what you wish to do.

The more you start getting noticed, the more people will point fingers at you. Don’t let them affect you and create doubts in your head. As William Shakespeare said,

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

11. Learn to handle failure

You are going to be a loser and it’s a good thing! If you fail and lose, you will learn to not repeat your mistakes and make yourself stronger with every punch you throw out.

It takes time till you start losing. The key is to not be demotivated by failure. The more the failure, the more closer you are to success.

Advertising

12. Try your hands at investing in stock market or cryptocurrency

It’s a good way to keep your side income rolling in. While you are busy building your dream project, you could invest your money in the stock market or cryptocurrency and let it grow while you sleep.

As Warren Buffet famously quoted,

“If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

Find a good stock broker who has enough experience to not lose your money. Stop immediately if you are losing a lot of money. Don’t burn away your money.

13. Keep a healthy routine

It’s easy to forget about your health when you are working on something that you’re really passionate about. Set reminders about your health routine.

Exercise! Most successful people start their day early and take time out to exercise at least thrice a week. It helps you give more energy and time to your work.

Always remember that you started your new venture to be happier. Bad health will not let you enjoy your success.

Join yoga classes or learn meditation from youtube. Avoid sitting too long at one place for more than 15 minutes at a stretch, take breaks. take a walk, especially up-down the staircase as much as you can to skip age related joint pains and muscle atrophies.[1]

14. Enjoy your days off

Taking a break helps your creativity and clears your mind from clutter. You need your days off to come back afresh and take on your tasks. You can’t be working 24/7.

Remember that being able to take your days off is one of the beneficial quirks of an entrepreneurial journey. You can have a routine designed by yourself, for yourself.

Take your days off when you are too stressed and can’t think straight. Self-discipline might sound simple but practice takes ages. Schedule down time for yourself.

15. Take these steps to quit your job without burning bridges

Resume.io has this infographic about the steps you should take after you’ve decided to quit your job:[2]

Advertising

    16. Remember why you quit your job

    Lastly, remember why you quit your job and started doing what you love. There would be bad days that will make you regret your decision, but don’t let them dominate the reason why you took the plunge.

    Your soul wasn’t happy with what you were doing. Your new venture is what you always wanted to do.

    Never forget that.

    If nothing works out, you could still go back to any job you want, but at least, you’d be spared from regrets and constantly arriving “What if?” question in your head.

    So, start now and live without any regrets.

    Execution matters more than thought. Turn your dream into a reality starting today. Start small and grow big.

    Besides, it’s never too late to do what you want to do. Here’s the proof:

    How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    Read Next