July 26; Management Wants Staff With Eyes Wide Open
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Seven: Power; 26 July

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping.

“Simon,” he said to Peter,

“are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour?

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Mark 14:37 – 38

Management Wants Staff With Eyes Wide Open

Alert Staffer

It was called the “Sleep Button” on the Army fatigue combat uniform. It was the button on the back pocket. Whenever a soldier sat down on his backside the button was activated and the soldier began to snooze instantly.

An unconscious soldier in a classroom or on guard duty makes for a poor learning experience so the instructors have an easy solution for tired troops: Go to the back of the room and remain standing. It is hard to sleep standing up.

It is also hard to doze while taking notes. Staying awake and writing has the added benefit of showing your teacher or manager that you might actually care about what is being discussed.

In our modern day, the new hardware–handhelds and tablets and laptops–are the most effective tools for the note-taking staffer to capture the intentions of the manager. When the boss speaks the thinking staffer whips out his tablet and starts typing. This shows the boss that the staffer is taking notes.

This is, of course, a lie.

And the manager is not fooled.

Whenever a staffer has a laptop open, his email is being checked and Twitter tweaked. The staffer is Instagramming, Snapchatting and Drudging. Your manager knows all about this Millennial “multitasking” and your manager knows that he would be lucky to get a quarter of the screen. Squeezed next to the Facebook feed.

The manager knows you are texting in his meeting. (And no, your manager has NEVER texted in a meeting with his boss…)

***

The John Paul II biographer, George Weigel, writes that he would often take hand written notes in conversations. Jack Welch took notes, Bill Clinton took notes.

Management is a relationship between boss and staff and peers. And like all relationships they should be analog – not digital. The relationship is not a virtual reality. It is best done IRL (in real life). It is not a “Second Life.”

In our technologically driven need for instant input and answers, young staffers will use a tablet or laptop to take notes because they are more efficient. But the use of the electronics is not that of active listening but of goofing off; boredom.  Note taking with pen and paper is better than typing, research shows.

Some efficiency must be sacrificed for the effectiveness of a demonstration—showing attention to the manager: take notes by hand. The easiest method to exercise power through active listening is to put the digital down and carry a notebook and writing utensil. The pen is mightier than the keyboard. Popes and presidents take handwritten notes and so should you.

***

If there is a need to have a laptop open in a meeting, always position yourself and the screen so that the principle can see what’s up. Turn the screen in her direction.

The manager might have to reinforce a directive and construct a procedure. The Thinking Manager might declare a meeting to be digital free where the participants power down and listen up.

Or the manager will have to build in systems to know that staff are watching him and not YouTube™. For example, the computer lab in Trinity High School, in Fairfax, Virginia has oversized convex mirrors placed on the walls at the back of the classroom. The instructor can see the all students’ screens at a glance while maintaining eye contact facing the class.

Remember: the most effective relationships are in the physical in atoms not on-line in bytes.

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:37 – 38

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