Magazine article Management Review

Management Is a Craft, Not an Art or Science

Magazine article Management Review

Management Is a Craft, Not an Art or Science

Article excerpt

Rejuvenating organizations may be an art. Managing things, or thinglike aspects of organizations, may be a science. But the craft of managing people takes wisdom, patience, experience, authority, conviction, and realism.

In our organizations, we need the honest, trustworthy, calm authority of the experienced Craftsman. Craftsmen are the preservers and the mentors. They're the ones who will give our young people, most of whom are budding Craftsmen, a chance to get started. They're the ones who will accept them into the organization even if they are not brilliant. They're the ones who will mentor, empower, and teach and train and invest in them.

Entrepreneurship, too, is largely a craft. Owner-managers of small and medium-size businesses are, for the most part, Craftsmen. They have translated experience, a skill, a metier, into a business, usually by identifying some relatively small but important innovation in product or service. The ones who innovate on a grand scale, the really big success stories, are invariably Artists. And among the millions and millions of startups, these big stories are rare indeed.

The Craftsman's Behavior

In general, craftsmanship is about three things: pride, skill and quality. In management, what does the Craftsman's behavior look like? They are hardworking, dedicated, predictable, helpful, polite and punctual. They work hard; long hours if there's something urgent. They'll do whatever they themselves judge necessary for the institution - they're dedicated to its success - but it will be their decision, their judgment. Not a rule. You can count on them to be where they say they'll be, doing what they say they'll be doing. They seldom surprise anyone. They're never erratic.

To accomplish their work, they have to work through and with others; and so they're helpful to them. They're humane but firm. They don't have a screaming fit if someone makes a mistake. They expect mistakes. Yet they are not gushing sentimentalists. They fire lazy people because lazy people demoralize the responsible ones. They fire people who are insubordinate; they believe in hierarchy and authority.

Thought Processes

Craftsmen are knowledgeable, thoughtful, realistic, sensible, wise, open-minded, conventional and conservative. Realistic and sensible make for good judgment. …

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