Author: Frederick "Ken" Sexe
I still remember the first question my professor asked me on the first day of the first management class I ever attended like it was yesterday. He asked a simple question: “Why do you want to be a manager?” Several students, myself included, raised their hands and gave a reply. After a few answers the professor made a statement that stuck with me ever since.
His reply to the students was “If you do not want to make a lot of money then you should not be a manager.” When I heard that I was stunned. Stunned because I sincerely saw management as a way of doing what I felt I did best. I wanted to help others be the best they could be while empowering them to do great things. I always felt, even as a bright-eyed young student all those years ago, that making money was the RESULT of being a great manager and not the reason. As I continued to study management I continued to be passionate about the potential that management, when performed correctly, can transform organizations and change people’s lives.
Yet my experiences within the management discipline have only served to reinforce what my professor said. I see many organizations filled with people who use management as a means to further their own career with little or no desire for the actual art of management itself. People who climb onto the corporate ladder with nobody to teach and be a role model for them by reinforcing the theory that management is a responsibility and not a right.
Yet, I do not blame them in one sense. Many organizations create a structure focusing on the short-term and physical without any understanding of the “things that are unknown and unmeasurable” as Deming would say. Managers within these structures become parasites seeking self-satisfaction only serving to chase short-term goals for extrinsic reward at the expense of those around them. People in these organizations become unmotivated feeling that they can be replaced at a moment’s notice. Is it no wonder that morale within organizations is at an all-time low? A recent study showed that 90 percent of employees felt that they could do their job better if there were no management in place. This in my opinion is truly a shame, as these individuals have never seen the power of management to achieve extraordinary things.
If there is anything I could ask of all of you desiring to become managers is to ask yourself the same question I was asked all those years ago. If your answer to this question is similar to mine then I ask that you explore ASEM and find people to help you find your passion. ASEM is truly wonderful in that there are people of all walks of life and experience available. And, I would argue, most if not all of the members are willing to help you where you want to go. I ask all of you to be a part of the transformation that management so dearly needs. And, if you are one of those in position to help people about to start the climb towards management I ask that you be the catalyst for change and be the example that they can learn from.
Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/tie-necktie-adjust-adjusting-man-690084/
Frederick (Ken) Sexe is a lifelong learner currently wrapping up his PhD in Engineering Management and Organizational Psychology at Northcentral University. His hobbies include challenging prevailing patterns of thinking that discourage new ideas while developing new ways to do things. He is currently employed as a Senior Systems Engineer at Raytheon where he is taking a career break from management to pursue his educational goals and focus on his family.