Three management lessons from St. Patrick

Today’s guest post is by Peppercommer Matt O’Purdue. 

Ah, St. Patrick’s Day. Holidays here at RepMan invariably present a chance for some real clickbait to inflate our site traffic. Oops…I mean invariably present a chance to create some high-quality content to enhance our audience engagement.

So in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, without further ado we present three management lessons from the one and only Apostle of Ireland.

peewee2 (aaaaa1)Chase out the snakes:
St. Patrick is legendary for chasing the snakes out of Ireland. The lesson here for managers is to guard your company’s culture with a religious fervor. Corporate culture is what really enables you to differentiate yourself from your from your competitors; not your products and services. Those employees who don’t fit into your culture? Maybe they need to be chased out.

Probably the best example of this comes from second-generation Irish-American Anne Mulcahy. When she took over as CEO of Xerox, charged with turning around a failing company, she told 100 of her executives to get on board with the plan or leave. Ninety-eight elected to stay.

Learn the language: St. Patrick was actually born in Roman-occupied Britain. He got his first taste of Ireland only after he was kidnapped and sent to Ireland to tend sheep as a slave. While there, he picked up the local language and culture, which he used later in life on his return to Ireland to proselytize. The lesson here is to continually expand your knowledge of your employees and your clients. Can you talk their talk and walk their walk? If not, your most important messages for them are going to fall on deaf ears.

Keep it real: St. Patrick grew up in an aristocratic family and was later ordained a bishop. In Ireland, he broke bread with nobles and chieftains, legend has it. Yet he’s venerated today for his acts of service and his life of poverty. As a manager, you need to make it clear to your staff that you’re a leader, but you also need to show them that you will never forget where you came from. Make sure you get down in the trenches with them on a regular basis. Edit a press release, write a tweet. When was the last time you actually attended a weekly client conference call?

If you follow this simple advice, you’ll be that much closer to management sainthood.

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