LESSONS IN MANAGEMENT FROM A MASSACRE OF SOULS

I usually only write about what matters to me. There are so many good and bad events in this world that no writing can cover everything. So I have always lived by the simple truth and that is you cannot change the world. You can however shed light on the dark side of humanity by just simply putting fingers to keyboard and then press send. I recently found a new media to get another view of world events, Aljazeera, and this morning I watched a documentary called ‘Miners Shot Down” . It was the story of the 2012 massacre of about 28 miners ,employed to the Lonkin Maracana Mines. The plot is simply this; Miners are unsatisfied with pay, employers do not hold miners grievances seriously, miners strike, employers call the police, police enforce their authority, miners were shot. I said to myself this could be Jamaica. As a matter of fact in many ways circumstances and situations this is  just like Jamaica. May 2010 the Police and Army Tivoli Gardens, the US Govt. & Coke Matter and Black Friday in 1963 when Rastafarians were killed in a major Government crackdown on the brethren in western Jamaica.

” We want to end this illegal activity…’  South African Police Chief.

This bothered me to the point I had to blog my thoughts. The statement above made by the chief of police is my starting point. Staff and management conflicts are not unusual.   It is part of the human DNA. There will always be conflicts. In this case miners sold their expertise to their employers and felt their labor was not adequately compensated. Management not listening to their workers complaint forced the workers to communicate the way they felt will get management’s attention. They stopped  working. One party is communicating, the other is not. One party stops working, the other is upset. What is illegal about that ‘activity’? What crime was broken? Who died? What laws were thrown in the police’s face? Labor disputes demand the greatest effort to listen and the equally greatest effort to compromise and if there is no desire on both sides to communicate then both parties have just struck the match.  Management’s refusal to take the noise of the  staff seriously is like driving a car on a low tank of gas. Eventually the car will stop. This is not illegal Madam Chief of Police, it is virtuous, it is innocent, it is just. It is self defense.

“The Perfect Storm”

The art of modern management in this globalized world is constantly changing. The changing dynamics require management to be not only an employer and provider but must also now be a muse, a muse of labor. Management now has to be someone who has such an influence on their workers that he or she becomes the focus and inspiration for their creative work  The incidents leading to the days of the massacre saw a continuing decline in respect for not the workers, but a declining respect for humanity. And this was not a black and white apartheid as the evidence showed some of the leaders against the workers were also black. It was more us and them , us the holders of wealth, them the beneficiary of that wealth. Us the rich, them the poor, us the educated, them the uneducated. Two opposing poles electrically charged creating the perfect storm. The ensuing struggle between the parties resulted in deaths with both parties justifying the results. It is always the best tool for management to protect and avoid the floating clouds of rain and lighting to avoid the onslaught of a downpour of anarchy. It is not good for business, it is not good for trust. Trust abandons faith.

” The police has nothing to apologise for..” Police Chief

The odious statement made by Madame Chief of Police does not help management. In fact it transforms them into the mummy they so vividly played in this horrific play. In other words, the message is, the death of the workers leave the police and management cold. Given the social and economic circumstances of the world, the elite still do not get it.  The lack of management’s’ capacity to feel what their workers feel is graphically showing why workers worldwide, approximately 50% of the 200 million labor force each year, have social protest with regards to the state of governance , levels of corruption and lack of service delivery. There is a total disconnect. Wages are low, workers live in almost abominable conditions and the so called “servants of the people’ is nothing but management masquerading as a bigot and literally raises the question is management , government or the police really concerned about the people they serve? Is management serially inept? This tragedy at Maracana is not unusual. It happens globally in different pockets , in small and large countries, in small and large companies. The symptoms are different but it all ends the same, the workers are the ones that are seen as inept and the management, leaders and governments collectively hypnotize the gentiles that their actions are fair, just and for the good of all. The police chief was quoted as saying to the police,

” you all did what you had to do. You took a chance with your life to stop the threat of violence to protect yourself and to save the South African people..”

My one question to the police chief is the people that died and the workers that are disenfranchised, are they not people, are they not South Africans too? After years of managing and  leading, management is still very inept of understanding this trusim- all people are people. Management , governments and leaders will only have a team when they make their team feel exactly how management want to feel.

Global relations between management, government and labor is destined to change. It is inconceivable that it wont. Unions have to transform themselves and become a leader of innovation and education of its members if it hopes to remain viable. It seems like a cart dragging the horse with members driving union’s response to correcting labor relation problems. I am not a union buster but unions are becoming slowly redundant all because of one thing. technology,  Unions cannot remain oblivious to reality , thinking that technology will have no part of replacing labor. If unions do not change, labor will become redundant. If unions don’t change, then labor will remain mediocre. Education is their only hope. Members must be seen as assets, not a human liability of  minimum value.

Similarly management, businesses  and governments must transform their vision of not seeing the end results as “money first, at any cost”. Management’s role is to drive the global village creating wealth, employment and a greater social livelihood. Eradicate poverty, poverty of resources, mind and spirit. Management must change. Like the workers management’s load is carried by the horse pulling the cart, but its an empty cart. Management cannot exist without labor even with the onslaught of technology. It is becoming  a reality that  management will have employers all over the globe and universities , unions and governments must begin to see how they can manage that global resource and not focus on labor relations dealing with soon to be old fashioned business etiquettes.

Management must pollinate its resources it cannot kill the bees that spreads wealth. In South Africa the bees were killed. South Africa represents the world of labor relations gone amuck. The world must learn from this to prevent this from happening to humanity. Know your people, speak to them as people, do not miscalculate and treat them like the enemy. The police fired on the people and the people acted in self defense. Intelligently they fell to the ground with their hands in the air. Who amongst the players were the most intelligent? Who was it that raped the workers of justice?

“There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.” . Mahatma Ghandi

Paul Tomlinson

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