A beautiful mind and heart

30 Nov

When I hear the word “manager,” I immediately associate it with the corporate world. I’m not a big fan of the corporate or business world and it would be safe to say that I am not a big fan of “managers” as well. Throughout the years, I’ve developed an aversion towards them and being near one triggers an allergy.

And thankfully I did not get an allergy today from talking too much about managers, perhaps the word “environmental” softened the impact a bit. It’s a novel combination of words (at least to me): environmental + manager. Perhaps I’ve only read or heard this combination of words thrice in my life (okay, an accurate approximation would probably be less than 10 times).

It sounds nice, sounds like a very important person when put in the context of employment. If I hear someone say, “Hi, I’m an environmental manager,” surely I’d be impressed but I would also quickly revert to a state of confusion. What exactly does an environmental manager do and, in light of today’s class discussion, how is an environmental manager different from any of them corporate managers?

There is a lot of food for thought in today’s discussion of the soup of  “mindsets” that an ideal manager (vis-a-vis environmental manager) should have. I believe that, in the real world, finding a manager with a perfect mix of reflective, analytical, collaborative, action, and worldly mindsets would be like looking for a needle in a haystack, but it probably would not hurt to aspire to reach this level. But the “mindsets” that an environmental manager is even more ambitious: it’s a mix of the conventional analytic, collaborative, action mindsets and the new careful and earthly mindsets.

The ideal would be that environmental managers should more than strive to assimilate these mindsets because they would be managing not just people but living things that have the potential to outlive them. In our group discussion, it has been brought up that environmental managers should also have an “ethical mindset,” taking into consideration that managing a swamp is not like managing a worker who could speak his mind out when he is being exploited. But since this topic of ethics (and value, as was mentioned in class) is not just a “mind” matter but a “heart” matter as well, I guess there should also be a “heart set” in addition to “mind set.”

Anyone can be a manager but to be an environmental manager, to me, requires more than just a beautiful mind. I know that Sir David Attenborough said that, in addressing environmental problems, campaigners must appeal to logic and not to pity or emotions. I agree with him but, being humans, I’m sure emotions will play a role one way or another on decision-making (emotions as a possible source of bias). So, perhaps, the best thing that an environmental manager should do (when making conflicting decisions) is to follow what Marilyn vos Savant (Guinness world record holder for highest IQ) has said, “If your head tells you one thing, and your heart tells you another, before you do anything, you should first decide whether you have a better head or a better heart.”


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