One of Peter Drucker’s big ideas was the notion of management as a “liberal art.” In The New Realities (1950,) Drucker argued that effective managers need a wide-ranging knowledge on subjects as varied as psychology, science—even religion.
Management is a liberal art—“liberal” because it deals with the fundamentals of knowledge, self-knowledge, wisdom, and leadership; “art” because it deals with practice and application.
Management deals with people, their values, their growth and development—and this makes it a humanity. So does its concern with, and impact on, social structure and the community. Indeed… management is deeply involved in spiritual concerns—the nature of man, good and evil.
Managers draw on all the knowledge and insights of the humanities and the social sciences—on psychology and philosophy, on economics and on history, on the physical sciences and on ethics.
Idea for Impact: Management has become more about numbers and processes than about people
Manage people, not things.
A wise manager is a well-rounded one—somebody who understands and can leverage, in Drucker’s words, “the nature of man.”
Understand your employees. Understand how they think and act. Know what makes them tick—what drives them, what motivates them, what their aspirations are. Acquaint yourself to different approaches to management based on different sets of values. Individualize your management approach.
Use this understanding to create a productive work environment—that’s your foremost responsibility as a manager.