by Tip Fallon
When I think of noble professions – teachers, social workers, and other care-giving roles have usually come to mind. I didn’t think of a business person in a pin-stripe suit, i.e., a manager, as a noble profession until recently.
From my perspective, managers and the role of management in organizations often get a bad reputation. We accuse managers of being out of touch, creating unnecessary work and complexity, and have come up with endearing terms for them like “micromanagers,” “bureaucrats” or even “the Man”. Despite the frustrations managers can create though, they also have the opportunity to do work that I believe is as noble as any other profession.
Maya Angelou advised that people don’t remember what you do or say, they remember how you make them feel. That is, while our tasks at work may be important, the quality of our life isn’t determined by how many deadlines we meet; it’s about the state of our well-being: emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. When we feel good, we are happier, more productive, enjoy better relationships, and more likely to help others feel good. Our experience at work greatly impacts how we feel. 140 million people are employed in the U.S and spend half of their waking hours at work on weekdays. And what directly impacts one’s experience at work? His or her manager. Regardless of the line of work, or person’s level in the organization, the manager can create a culture, relationship, team dynamic, and task assignment that can make all the difference in the experience of that individual’s day.
The impact doesn’t end when the employee leaves work. Whether someone has a positive or negative experience at work then impacts their lives when they return home to their friends, family, and community. This impact compounds over time – people can have good weeks, months and years at work, or bad ones. And the effects are consequential to the individual’s personal life as well as to his or her family, community, and society. Thus, managers directly impact the lives of people and the depth of that impact carries over into other dimensions of that person’s life.
What do you think? Do you view management as a noble profession?