Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Correct a Little

Mixing faith and business...

There is a belief that a Catholic should not bring his or her faith into the workplace.


Pope Francis recently quoted Pope John XXIII and if I hadn't been purposely reading a Catholic magazine there's no way I would have found this in the mainstream secular media.  It jumped out of the page.  He said,

"See everything; turn a blind eye to much; correct a little." 

I could have used this advice when I first started in management, and John XXIII expresed this Christian sentiment many years before that.  Had I been reading up on my faith as diligently as I was all those motivational books there might be far fewer apologies owed to those who reported to me over the last three decades.

See everythingA manager's job is to see everything.  We either know what is or what was going on, or we ought to have known.  No excuses.  No avoiding responsibility by deliberately not knowing.

Turn a blind eye too much:  Here's my personal failing, while we're in the corporate confessional.  I have felt compelled to comment, correct and coerce obsessively all in the name of developing my direct reports.  In fact, I've been holding them back.  People need the opportunity to venture, discover, be right and be wrong.

Correct a little:  This is when we don't, or can't turn a blind eye for the good of the individual, the good of the company, and for our career.

I suspect the need to correct a subordinate is far less often than we think; certainly far less than I've felt necessary, to be truthful.

This quote from Pope John XXIII is radically different from almost every accepted management practice and wasn't specifically targeted to the workplace, rather to the church (the people of faith) to bring it into their families, communities and businesses.  Is there a place for a strong, practical, practicing Catholic faith in the workplace?

We can't afford there not to be.

(Sorry about that foul language up at the top.  There wasn't a better word.)