Considering Management

What if management is simply taking the unconscious aspects of an organization, or group making them conscious and then actively making the changes required to improve those aspects?  Sort of like life in general.

Trying to view management through this framework does a few very useful things.  The first being everyone can step back from leader worship.  Not everyone is a leader, not everyone can be a leader and not everyone will be a leader; quit trying to make it otherwise.  But, everyone can begin to learn to identify unconscious actions in themselves and each other then try to change those actions.

A manager would simply be someone who has become adept at identifying those unconscious actions and thoughts in individuals and an organization, bringing them into conscious levels and working on changing them if required.  Work cultures become what they are due to the people in them and how the relationships between those people form, grow and change.  A manager works to consciously create a work culture that is beneficial for the end goal of that organization/group/team.

Next, viewing management from this framework would lead to managers not becoming stagnant.  To become adept at identifying these unconscious habits, one needs to practice and the best place to practice would seem to be on oneself, constantly.  A framework of this sort has self-improvement built into itself without needing to specify.  A manager taking this sort of framework as their way of management would be a dynamic individual that is constantly growing meaning that they will probably constantly be finding new habits in the organization to identify and tinker with meaning the organization will also be continually growing.

Finally, taking on this framework means a manager can explain some of their practices to those they are managing.  When a manager requires some sort of meeting or training, under a framework of identifying unconscious habits, a manager has the potential to explain to an employee why they are being put through the training that seems to be ‘common sense’ or not useful. The manager has the potential to say to the employee that they had identified habit x within the team which seemed to be hindering the team so, this training was scheduled to bring this habit into the open for the team so that they can identify it and agree to a way to change it.

This sort of framework seems to be a lot like a sports training coach.  The coach gets the team together and starts working on training some aspects of the sport until they become unconscious habits.  He also watches the team and identifies current unconscious habits of team members or the team overall which are detrimental to the team during a game.  Then, the coach creates a new, beneficial habit to replace the old one and trains it into the team until it becomes unconscious again.

The most beneficial aspect of this framework, for me, is the ability to explain the reasons for something in a way that makes sense.  Having to go through different “trainings” for some of the things I have done has always ended up being frustrating.  There appears to be no rhyme or reason to the trainings and they do not tend to be beneficial due to their one-size-fits-all style and lack of context.  A management framework as I am describing will cut out the one-size-fits-all trainings and would actually be able to provide context for the trainings in the form of, “I, as the manager, have noted x habit within the organization/team.  This habit is not helpful to the team because of a, b, c reasons.  So, as a team/organization, we are going to examine this habit, consider it and agree to a way to change the habit into something helpful to the team/organization.”  Finally, an answer to “Why do we have to do this?” as I am sure many people get tired of hearing from employees.

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Teaching Philosophy

There is a lot of information when you search for “teaching philosophy” or related terms, but they are all related to the in-class problems of teaching philosophy.  How to get discussions going, how to make students accountable for doing the reading, etc. etc.  But I cannot find any discussion on the curriculum of philosophy.  So far my philosophy education has been various classes mostly focused on entirely different subjects such as rationalism and epistemology.  Critical Thinking, 20th Century Continental Philosophy and other separate topics of this sort.  I wonder if this is the best way to teach a philosophy major though.  An introduction to philosophy sure, make it a broad course, just get a student’s feet wet in various writers, topics, eras etc.  But, if they are more interested and want to pursue philosophy how should the student learn all of the different philosophical systems?  I understand not every single system can be learned without a minimum of three lifetimes but, the general themes in philosophy at least.  What is the best way to introduce a student with a major in philosophy?  I have not been able to find anyone who has discussed this question.

Does it make sense to be teaching philosophy is this jumbled way? Where I can pick and choose a little bit of Aristotle and then go to Heidegger and then to Descartes then come back to modern texts?  To me no, context is important in my opinion and just throwing various philosophers at me does not help me with that sort of context.  Maybe not every student learns like this, but I think a discussion like this definitely has to happen if it has not already.

I think, that it would make more sense to start with Socrates (which it seems most intro philosophy courses do anyway) and then work historically forward to the present day philosophy.  But, we have to make sure to avoid getting in the mindset of there being Aristotle’s telos of humanity.  Yet, the historical part of philosophy happening is incredibly important.  I have barely ever dealt with Aristotle (less than a one semester course) and then I went on to reading Rationalist texts, who were all attempting to react to Aristotle’s metaphysics.  How in the world can I truly understand these thinkers without having some more thorough knowledge of Aristotle and everything in between the two sets of thinkers?  I don’t think I can.  Maybe historical is not the best way though, it is not exactly friendly to philosophy’s ideal of being timeless.

Another problem is in these classes like “rationalism” I end up dealing with a handful of writers but never really getting into any of them and in some ways it seems that I cannot come to appreciate the vastness of their thought without having read some of their other texts.  Locke, as an empiricist is another example, I have had to go over both his Essay on Human Understanding and his Treatise on Government, but they have never been taught as coming from the same Mr. Locke.  It is almost as if there are two different John Lockes who wrote these two separate texts, yet it isn’t.  The same man wrote both texts and I think that a better understanding of both would come from having dealt with both in the same course.  So a “Locke” course would thus be in order.  But then the student may absolutely despise all of Locke’s writings, but this student would have to understand and know Locke well in order to properly respond to his writing and understand the others that responded to Locke’s writings.  Then there is the question, is one better than the other? Is it possible to reconcile them? What about actual modern philosophy that has not been directly dealt with in the historical texts?

My direct answers to these questions respectively are: No, Yes,  higher level classes, if at all.  (Modern philosophy in the sense of journal articles being written like they are today is terrible in my opinion, but that is another topic.)

So I guess, has this discussion been had? Where at?