This time, a quick recap of last year’s newsletter topics, and something brief for right now.
Thank you for inviting me to your inbox.
People who pay to receive the newsletter have been getting my Warm Takes, my thoughts in process on what’s happening, often with my critical eye on how the media represents the workplace.
A 2020 audio playlist is here. I didn’t do a lot of audio in 2020. Next time I’ll have more to say on this, and other newsletter changes for 2021.
Responding to the moment
When I was an emerging manager, I was surrounded by people managers who had generations of experience. They were a rich source of coaching and advice.
These folks have been one of my models for how I try to serve people I work with, and the voice I try to bring the the newsletter.
If you’re in the US, the last weeks have been a lot. The last months have been too. I’d count myself among the many who were unsurprised by the events of January 6. That said, it knocked me flat. Which did surprise me.
And word from my own network: I’m not alone. Though I have picked myself up again, somewhat, it has been by doing a bit less. And then doing it as well as I can.
If you lead or manage people, some of them probably aren’t doing so well. There’s plenty to stress us out.
People in your circles may be targets of white supremecist or other forms of violence, caregivers, parents, living alone, unemployed, frontline workers, drowning in debt, working with mental health and/or substance abuse issues, chronically ill, essential workers whose labor might be underappreciated or unseen, residents of a food desert, elderly, survivors of Covid.
Survivors of people who have died from Covid, or who have died deaths of despair.
The present normal is not normal. When we, as leaders, act like things are normal in a time of crisis, this is worse than non-productive. It isolates people who are affected by the crisis and suffering.
Check in with your people — how can you support them, right now?
Acting like things are normal also creates new norms. Choose carefully.
This time, I had planned to write to you about a theme I started to explore in late 2020: competence. It’s an underappreciated step along the way to expertise. Yes, I also mean management expertise.
I’ll be back soon with my thoughts on competence, incompetence, incompetence as a functional equivalent of ill-intentions, and what I’m calling strategic incompetence.
Offerings from folks in my circles
Are you a not-for-profit professional who wants to level up in your career — or might you want to make a transition to the non-profit sector? Check in with Stacy Lewis. Starting in February, Stacy will be running bootcamp programs for people like you.
I’ve known Stacy for the better part of a decade, and she’s smart, kind, curious, skilled, and savvy. Connect with Stacy and get more info here.
CV Harquail will kick off February with PathMinding: Get Aligned + Accountable in Your Feminist Business. CV is the author of Feminism:
A Key Idea for Business and Society.
CV and I met on the internet and became friends a long while back. In 2019, Are Norms Really Normal, On Management #39 featured our audio chat, Feminism has a Branding Problem.
Lol, I guess that I’m in my own circle.
I love hearing from you. Your questions, suggestions, and ideas make me smarter, and better.
The greatest compliment I received in 2020 came from a reader of Platforms: On Management #45. I deflected the compliment — as one should not do — by commenting that I had been a bit unusually ranty. Her response was appreciative. She said something like, “I thought, nobody is paying her to say this.”
Now is not a good time to be silent. The future of work is not an innovation. It is an accretion of our actions, our words, and what we will accept.
Thank you for reading, and many thanks to those who pay to receive On Management.
May you, your loved ones, and everyone you come into contact with be safe, healthy and free.