Replayed: Be an astronomer of people- The Challenge of Leadership and Management

by Michael Haberman on September 6, 2018 · 0 comments


Leadership is a hot topic these days. I wanted to replay this post from 2016 because I liked it.

I subscribe to the YouTube channel of Jason Silva, Shots of Awe. This week he was talking about the telescope and the wonders and complexity of the universe. I am amazed at the vastness and complexity of the universe we live in as I am sure many of you are as well. Unfortunately, I am not astounded by the sky and stars on a daily basis. I should be but they are always there. As I watched Silva’s video I realized that the sky and our employees have a lot in common.

Vast and complex

As we take the sky for granted and don’t daily dwell on its complexity so we take our employees for granted. People are almost as infinitely varied and complex as the stars, yet we tend not to notice. We assume they will be there. We assume they will work. We assume that what works for one will work for the other. That is why we have reward programs, engagement programs, assessment programs and compensation programs that cater to the average. It is also easier to deal with average than it is to deal with the individual. Unfortunately, we miss the complexity that people bring to the workplace by paying attention to the average.

Astronomers study the sky

One group of people that don’t take the sky for granted is astronomers. They study the sky daily looking for new things, new stars, and new variations from the norm of the vastness of space. New discoveries have the possibility of changing perceptions and altering how we treat a previous fact.

As the astronomer studies the stars so should a manager study the people with whom he or she works. The manager should look for and understand the reasons why one person is different from the next. What makes them burn brighter and work harder? Do they have a gravitational pull on other employees that makes them a natural leader? Or are they like a black hole sucking all the energy out of those that surround them?

That to me is the challenge of proper leadership and management, using observation to alter the facts you know about your group. Understanding the vastness and complexity of the humans you work with in order to best understand the facts about them is no easy task. But having the skill be an astronomer of people will help you manage your corner of the universe.

Here is the YouTube from which I got my inspiration.

The Telescope: Our Bridge To The Infinite


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