Monday, February 11, 2008

Self-Regulation, Self Actualization, and Pringles

I've talked so much about Libertarianism, and how society should be based upon the ability of individuals to self-regulate their lives, but I want to apply this to management in a business setting. Individuals should take the beliefs of what's right and wrong, and act according to those beliefs. When this occurs, the government should have no need to regulate the affairs of those citizens. This is the basis of Libertarian thought. It's actually a cornerstone of the Republican party, but with the further addition that the government should not regulate moral or ethical issues.

Take, then, the typical retail establishment, with it's heirarchy of workers, mid-managers, managers...etc... Every employee should, according to Libertarians, be able to self-regulate their behavior at the workplace based on what is right and wrong. A typical worker, then, would not need a supervisor constantly over them. They would be aware of their surroundings and then be able to adapt to it. He or she should be self-starting, self-motivating, and always being able to keep the goals of the store in mind. On the other hand, the ethical beliefs of that worker should also require him or her to always make sure that the business that their company does is also ethical, and self-regulating.

This is clearly an idealistic view, and few employees could ever reach that level of self-regulation. But it's the struggle that counts. And that's also why supervisors and managers are needed, just as the need for government to exist because not every citizen can be depended upon to do that as well.

The twist, though, is that those same supervisors should expect their employees to reach a sufficient level of self-regulation. They should support workers to be self-motivated, and not have to tell them what to do at every single step. Supervisors need to have authority, not be authoritative. When an employee is self-motivated, but is still told what to do, it becomes a detriment to that worker to be reminded of things that is already clear needs to be done.


Maslow created a pyramid of basic needs, in which the bottom consists of shelter, food, warmth, and the top being self-actualization. And while I consider myself able to reach the top of that pyramid often enough (or else I couldn't think like I do), there are times that life kicks you in the rear and, like playing a game of Chutes and Ladders, sends you to the bottom to start all over again. Funny how one day I could be reading a book on Architecture and it's effects on the emotional state, and the next day, laying helpless on my bed suffering from diarrhea and vomiting. But such is the nature of the Stomach Virus, or Intestinal Flu, that nature takes you back to the very beginning, and reminds you of how such a physical being you are. It has been 20 years since I've had an episode that bad, and around 5 since I've had to call out from work because of being sick.

And finally, and briefly, I went to Wallgreens to get my mom's prescriptions (I gave that Virus to her and to my grandmother), and spotted cans of Pringles Extreme Cheddar. Amazing, especially in the car at night when you need to stay awake. You must get some!

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