How the other half lives – an observation in management

After a long break I now find myself travelling to London quite often, and of course it is most convenient to take the train. In a former life I used to commute daily. It is now hard to understand how I ever did it, and it is not just the uncertainty and unreliability of the train service.

The trouble is the people; not all of them of course but just the large antisocial element. Some have bags they lay on other people’s feet rather than putting them on the rack or asking someone else to, others push past, talk loudly on their phones or text constantly..beep beep beep. I guess it is the aggression pheromones discovered in fruit flies which is the cause of this behaviour, and of course relates to survival in a crowded environment.

Given this trait which in the past I have seen transferred into working environments, it seems a recipe for disaster in getting the best out of our staff. One can quite understand how having fought through the melee of public transport, it is difficult to switch off inconsiderate attitudes. It is possible to get people to be more relaxed though, and that is by being friendly with our co-workers. When I first became responsible for staff, I found it easier to be quite laid back and not to pressure people. That way I gained respect and a willingness to deliver amongst my group, but I cannot say it was particularly thought through. I had not then discovered Dale Carnegie.

Do the crowds and general rush make it harder to maintain a good atmosphere and working environment in larger towns and cities? It may be so, but I suspect that if bosses and managers took a step back and thought of their employees as people with needs, feelings and sensitivities, those workers would see their employers as human beings too. Everyone would then get on better and I suspect more work would be done and all would receive greater rewards, both monetarily and in happiness. I do recommend everyone should read Dale Carnegie if they haven’t already.

© Jon Stow 2009

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