Apart from philosophical indulgences, I also run a business.
The first ten years of my entrepreneurial life were mired in losses. Fortunately the subsequent ten have been much better. I am not an MBA, I have learnt management the hard way (much like Jamal in Slumdog Millionaire).
Here are a few things which have made a big difference for me:
1. Have a genuine interest in the well-being of your people. Just as it is the moral and spiritual duty of a parent to help their children achieve their true potential, same is true for a manager.
2. A manager understands the difference between compassion and justice – justice is compassion to maximum people. Being compassionate to one person is sometimes harmful for the whole team / company and thus not true compassion.
3. A manager who does not read is like an under-nourished tree. Reading is nothing but learning from others, it is about avoiding re-inventing the wheel. A good reading portfolio includes:
(i) Current developments in the professional domain
(ii) Scholarly articles related to the domain. They might be dated, but some of the wisdom is eternal.
(iii) Psychology, it is all about people management, no?
(iv) Spirituality, spiritual wisdom leads to emotional strengthening.
(v) Gym for the brain (also called heavy stuff). E.g. read this Incomplete Nature – Book Scan Pages 8 – 11
4. To remain popular, a manager has to take many unpopular decisions. Decisions should be guided by righteousness, not their popularity.
5. The importance of team spirit cannot be over-emphasized. If the team members do not gel together, try as you may, results will not be commensurate with potential. I whole-heartedly agree with Gestalt psychology – The whole has an identity distinct from the parts. The whole has emergent properties which are distinct from properties of the parts.
7. First define the goal, then build strategy how to achieve it.
What is right and wrong changes with time and situation. These ideas are most likely not going to work after a century (but a special hi to the readers of 2115).