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My response to The Builders’ Manifesto

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

The following is an excerpt from Umair Haques’s blog article “The Builder’s Manifesto.” The article and its ensuing comments make for a delicious thought-fest. You can, however, get the idea from the following injunctions – enough to understand my response below.

  1. The boss drives group members; the leader coaches them. The Builder learns from them.
  2. The boss depends upon authority; the leader on good will. The Builder depends on good.
  3. The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm. The Builder is inspired — by changing the world.
  4. The boss says “I”; the leader says “we”. The Builder says “all” — people, communities, and society.
  5. The boss assigns the task, the leader sets the pace. The Builder sees the outcome.
  6. The boss says, “Get there on time;” the leader gets there ahead of time. The Builder makes sure “getting there” matters.
  7. The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown. The Builder prevents the breakdown.
  8. The boss knows how; the leader shows how. The Builder shows why.
  9. The boss makes work a drudgery; the leader makes work a game. The Builder organizes love, not work.
  10. The boss says, “Go;” the leader says, “Let’s go.” The Builder says: “come.”

My response refers to a comment by Dmitri who argued not all employees appreciate a “builder.” Instead, he says, those employees “are not ready to take decisions on their own, they expect management (and in some cases even in the form of manipulation).”

I think Dmitri’s comment points to something really valuable that probably bothers many Western liberals. One size or style of management does not fit all. Many people, especially those from conservative and ethnocentric cultures, flounder when managed by anyone but a boss. There is no condescension nor justification for abuse in this. That’s just the way it is: everyone is different. Different values, different gods, etc. If groups of people have had little initiation into Western values, ideas such as consensus building are simply effete and irrelevant. They value the “how” over the “why.”

The important thing is that the management style be integral to the enterprise and to the belief systems of its stakeholders, which requires more homework than simply applying a formula.

Ken Wilber has written extensively on ‘stages or levels of development.’ For an introduction, take a look at http://integrallife.com/learn/levels-development/stages-or-levels-development.