Glasgow school of People Management

In 1990 the Observer newspaper responded to the increase in homelessness by sending some reporters out to sleep rough for a night. The one in London was robbed and the one in Manchester was beaten up. The one in Glasgow was just bedding down in a doorway and a Glaswegian was wandering past and asked what he was doing. In response the man said “Come away inside and have a bevvie” He was bought drinks into the early hours and was even brought breakfast in the morning. Such is the nature of the Glaswegians: fearless, generous, socialist, funny and above all understanding people. There is a predominant personality type in the West of Scotland and it tends to be good with people.

Three Scottish football managers came from mining villages to the south-east and south of Glasgow. They all won the European cup for their teams. Jock Stein, Matt Busby and Bill Shankly, they were of this ilk and their understanding of people and how to deal with them was key to their success. The down to earth experience of growing up in a mining village would stop any nonsense from any players who stepped out of line.

Alex Ferguson was similar coming from the shipbuilding area of Govan. His autobiography was a fascinating insight in how he dealt with his players. The chapters were mainly focussed on particular players. It was interesting to note how if there were end of season contract discussions to take place, he would visit each player in a different location to smooth the talk. With some he went to their Mediterranean holiday destination, some at home, some at the training pitch and some on the golf course. He considered their personality and what environment they would best hear whatever news was to be breached. He also took care not to over-criticise players. At half-time he would say things like, Oi you, that was rubbish, you are better than that.

The prevailing business mood is for autocratic management apparently. In a post truth society there appears to be no room for people’s feelings, aspirations, personal goals, and methods of working or their opinion on how the business could run better. These methods have crept into areas such as health and education that have nothing to do with profit. These two vital departments of Government are all about people, yet the staff are still treated like robots, inundated with regulation and bureaucracy and pointless statistics and even micro management of by Government ministers.

The trouble is there is no alternative to these methods as each enemy of the establishment has been gradually destroyed by stealth. In the future there may come a time when the people are freed from their affluent slavery. Then some of the discarded methods may be required to repair the damage.

Paying somebody a wage gets them to work. We are told that people are only motivated by money. Not true. They are motivated by responsibility, achievement, teamwork and many other things. To get the best out of someone at work, you need to work out what makes them tick. We are all individuals and a good a manager would encourage, develop, discipline and reward any of their staff.

Glasgow would be the ideal place for a school of People Management. The information is already out there, it is not new, just forgotten. Empowering people in the workplace rather than enslaving them is far more progressive than rapacious self-interested methods of today. I believe it would be more profitable in the medium term.

Clearly training leaders and managers in health and education would be vital. The school would remind people of the priorities of their jobs and look at patients and students, rather than statistics and profits.

The school could encourage industries where there is more than a profit motive, such as the arts. Politicians could be trained in economics, warfare (to avoid it), investigative journalism, social improvement, history and architecture.

This is not the answer, but I believe that different industries need to be managed and paid for in different ways.

Conway-Laird (2016)

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