Management according to the rules of St. Benedict

Management according to the rules of St. Benedict

Management according to St. Benedict “Leadership means recognizing the strength of the individual” Only a few years ago Bodo Janssen was considered a bad boss to his employees. He went to the monastery and developed a new style of leadership. Now he has published a book about the rules of life of Saint Benedict. WirtschaftsWoche: Mr. Janssen, you have written a kind of New Work Guide based on the rules of life of Saint Benedict. One could say: management literature with a religious-philosophical foundation. What is it about? Bodo Janssen: Classical management literature sees people as a means to an end for the economy. In my company, we only “manage” numbers, data and facts. In management books you can learn how to manage processes and people, use them efficiently. Saint Benedict recommends strengthening people and the community. When I take care of the people, the results look after themselves. The economy is the means to strengthen people. At a time when a young generation is asking about the meaning of work and not about the hourly wage, it is also more important. The mood in a company is more important than any knowledge or capital. Change means: from result to experience. Do you have to be a bible to understand the Benedictine rules of life? When I talk about spirituality, I do not mean church or religion so much. The rules of life written by St. Benedict are not a religious book. The wisdom therein is not just about faith, but in its simplicity can contribute to a good life and clarity. However, even before 1500 years ago, when Saint Benedict lived, people did not have to be as productive as they are today, right? Can Benedict’s rules of life be transferred to the present day? When the mental well-being of people is good, they feel spiritually fit and socially accepted, productivity rises so steeply that they can do much more with much less effort. This is happening in my company at the moment: Last year we grew by 50 percent – and that was not planned. Ten years ago we had a turnover of 20 million euros, this year we will have 60 millions. The number of employees has not tripled, but not even doubled. Productivity has increased because employees are less ill and staff turnover is very low. And even if employees only do ‘service by regulation’, but do not see their salary as pure compensation, that also contributes to productivity. About the author and the book Short biographyThe 1974 born heir of the northern German hotel chain Upstalsboom does not have an easy start as an entrepreneur: 2006 his father died in a plane crash, overnight Janssen took over the management of the traditional company. At the time, leadership meant for the business administrator to orient himself by numbers and demand everything from employees in the sense of these figures. 2010 conducted an employee survey – and received devastating ratings. To cope with this, Janssen began to withdraw regularly into a Benedictine monastery in Franconia. Based on the life rules of St. Benedict from the 6th century, he developed the “Upstalsboom way”, a modern interpretation of Benedict. The book In “Kraftquelle Tradition: Benedictine Art of Living for Today”, Janssen talks about his stay in the monastery and how he applied the experience to his hotel chain. From the rules of this simple life described by Benedict he develops a template for the modern working world. The focus is on the well-being of working people, how entrepreneurs can support their employees, find and develop themselves, and discover their abilities. It’s about community and stabilizing rituals such as firm breaks, enough sleep and time for reflection. “Especially in the 21 century, when it’s about accountability, interpersonal relationships, community, health, spiritual development and meaning, is the rule more relevant than ever, because it is not about religious rules, but a guide to the physical, mental, emotional and social development of a person, “writes Janssen – and thus makes reference to New Work movement, which he criticized in parts. In your book, you’re talking about the term New Work – and with the common reading of what that is, to the court. But New Work is a more humane working world, right? I have the feeling that New Work was actually meant differently than it is interpreted today. Fridtjof Bergmann, who coined the term, has described work as a medium that helps people to grow in their personality. This has little to do with methods, three-day beards and sneakers. This is partly too superficial to me. New Work is currently still very much in the old world for me; Ultimately, it is still about how people can be instrumentalized for good corporate results. But the goal should not be happier cows, which give more milk, but working worlds, in which no longer the classical employment is exercised, but where the possibility is given to realize itself as a human being. You point out in your book that this growth of man by his work is not to equate with fun, but rather with discipline and obedience to do. What do you associate with this in the context of a modern enterprise? In an old company, it would mean that I have to discipline myself and be obedient, so that I am in a good direction for the company. I adapt to please others. I mean something different, namely: I discipline myself for the sake of myself. I develop my habits in one direction so that I feel better. Well-being is often confused with comfort. That’s not it. To apply discipline to yourself, to clarify the question of what I get up every day for, what my values ​​are, is extremely exhausting. There you go into an adventure. Protestant and Catholic CEOs are convinced: value-led companies have a competitive advantage. Who is driven only by profit, can not be successful in the long run. Another term that you often use is reflection in the form of breaks and rest periods. Why is that so important? In the monastery only the breaks were given. In between, it could be very turbulent, intense and hard. I always remembered then: In the next hour I have time for myself, because I turn on my absence notice in the head. These anchors in everyday life are important. If I practice this in the company, I realize that I always remain energetic. But if I neglect the breaks, still drive that kilometer and want to do that, then I’m getting more and more tired. The breaks in which nobody else has anything to do with me, give permanent power. I have had this experience with myself and with my employees. If the breaks are respected, employees stay active for a long time. When the condition is reached that the employees are growing in themselves, seeing their work as fulfillment, intrinsically motivated, and so on, what does management and management need? Management organizes processes and ensures that the areas work well together. The leadership I mean is not a position, but a task that someone temporarily perceives. In a position, this is more difficult, it combines status and salary. The aim is that the community works peacefully and the individual is strengthened. So it’s about spiritual instead of economic leadership, to realize what the strength of the individual is and to use it accordingly. Only then can the individual employee be optimally involved in the daily work routine – in such a way that he is not frustrated. Being able to do what is really important to one’s self is the prerequisite for the community to function well. For the Benedictines a whole book is geared to it. That sounds so nice and simple – but how can I find that out with the individual employee? And what if he does not see his own strengths? A person has to want to develop. We also have a lot of employees who do not want to go along the Upstalsboom route, but just want to make good money for good work. That’s absolutely fine. Nevertheless, we are constantly inviting people to engage with themselves and then have the structures to help people and to accompany them professionally. If one says health is the greatest value for me, then I can see where in the company we are dealing with disease and give it to people who have to do with health. If he then works for it, he will find that highly sensible. © Handelsblatt GmbH – All rights reserved. Acquire usage rights?
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