Humanity is making serious efforts to ensure that recent events and the difficult months ahead do not permanently destroy critical ideas and ideologies. One of the biggest fears in business and sport alike is that even if we get through the epidemic in good health, victory and its value will have changed forever. This fear is valid!
The Manager’s Duty
Business has been a heavy burden in recent months. In addition, people are struggling in their private lives; they fear that family members, friends, and acquaintances might face health complications, serious illness, or death. In the meantime, of course, a real manager must do everything she can to handle the situation in a way worthy of her reputation as a successful businesswoman. The real manager cannot afford to deal only with her private life, as she is responsible for the lives and futures of many others. And yes, health is the most important thing, but we can see from the unemployment data that if there is no work and no money, then that can cause serious problems, which, by the way, will have great costs to one’s health. After all, wellbeing also requires money. Everyone knows this all too well. There are societies where this fact is quite evident, as showcased by imbalanced health insurance systems, and there are societies where this fact is less visible, but it is still valid. In other words, a good manager nowadays has to take care of the fate of colleagues, subordinates, and the company, and at the same time, the future of their people, which indirectly includes their health. Not all managers are ready for this challenge. Not everyone can set aside personal challenges, even for a short time, to focus on business matters. These leaders are losing the admiration of their employees, and these employees are starting to look for work elsewhere. Fellow managers do not have high opinions of such leaders, as they are considered weak. These managers, who are unable to respond to the crisis, can quickly cause grave short-term losses. They are not to be trusted in a critical situation. And this is all happening during an era in which idolism is one of the most important factors in the job market, so, unfortunately, this is an unforgivable sin. On the other hand, managers who can focus on their professional lives in addition to their private lives will be successful. They will be respected as good leaders and will be able to retain their most talented colleagues. Partners will stick by them, meaning, they will build a successful future. They did not leave their colleagues or their subordinates in a lurch, and nobody will forget that!
So, we have the winners, and we already know the losers. But the effects will not be so apparent. The result itself will not be in doubt, as it will be measurable in profit or lost revenue. But how a winning manager will go down in history is still in doubt at the moment. After all, under normal circumstances, if someone wins at business, if they are successful, then they can stand up and declare it. Newspapers can write about it; the company can post about it on their website. As long as it is sensical and intelligent, this kind of PR has mostly positive effects. At least in a healthy society! But what is the situation now, in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis? Moreover, the bigger question remains: what will happen after the epidemic is over? Will we be free to celebrate ourselves as winners if we emerge from the crisis victorious? What impact will it have on the results that we defeated those who were scared or had to focus on their private lives? Will we be able to raise a glass to our achievements? We were better managers. I mean, specifically, we were better prepared. We adapted and were able to organise our lives to adjust to new challenges. We too dealt with our loved ones. But won’t this all make us seem less humane, and maybe that’s why we were able to leave the battlefield as champions? Knowing the attitude of losers in general, there will undoubtedly be excuses that attempt to obscure the simple fact that they were weaker, so they lost. Because that’s always what happens in the world, isn’t it? The winner is always lucky, just “gifted”; few biopics detail the hard work that the star had to do to make it big. And what will the winners have to do? How must they behave so that they are not considered drunk on victory? How can they avoid appearing to have reached the top by marching over the graves of others?
The Right Stuff
We must find the golden ratio in this situation. And if one thinks that the typical intelligence and civility will provide a solution, they are probably wrong. This is a situation the world has not yet seen, and the usual clichés will certainly not work. But one thing certainly cannot happen: the winners must not be ashamed just because they were better. They must not hide their successes just because they behaved like real managers. This cannot happen. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not just worried about the future of the winners! In a healthy society, the losers also draw strength from the winners; it helps them believe that they too can win in the future. Some types need to fail, then look up to those who have ascended, and this will motivate them to improve! If we don’t let the winners rejoice in their triumph, we will lose the sense of victory! I mean, we, collectively, as humans. So, the question is: do we want to live without victory?