chapter  8
26 Pages

How to Train Your Manager: A Darwinian Perspective

ByS. Jonathan Whitty

Perhaps it is to help you do your job better or help you keep your job, even help you to get promoted! Whatever it is, surviving as the ‘meat in the sandwich’ between slices of senior management and front-line workers is not easy. In the corporate environment where the modern manager lives, the ability to plan, organise and deal with unexpected events is highly valued, admired, even celebrated. These traits act as cues or signals to senior management that the manager with these abilities is productive and able to generate profit, both of which are paramount for corporate survival. In this corporate environment a selection process takes place. Certain behaviours are condemned whilst others are rewarded through cultural inclusion, acceptance through employment, promotion and membership of a community. Surviving this selection enables these managers to live and reproduce, passing their behavioural characteristics, tendencies and ideals on to further generations of managers who will again undergo further selection. This struggle for survival as a manager sounds a lot like the evolutionary process, doesn’t it? Well it is, and the evolutionary process impacts on every manager, from how they are selected and retained, to the tools and techniques they use to report, influence and get help from senior management.