The Embodied Management 3.0 Practitioner

- Worker Happiness

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by Richard Atherton

We know we have self-esteem issues within the team. I have my Management 3.0 Kudo Cards with me. The second time I’ve brought them in, in as many weeks. I know it’s the answer. How could it not be? Get these people to acknowledge each other with the cards and build morale. When it’s my turn in the morning, I stand-up and I present my box of cards.

But before I can even open my mouth, my sponsor takes a sharp look at me: “Will you f*ck off with your hippy sh*t!” she barks. I’m crushed — no Kudo Cards for this team. How could I have screwed this up so royally? 

In retrospect, I had an easy answer to that question: I’d ignored the signals. I’d ignored the tightness in my stomach. I’d ignored the tightness in her face. Had I listened to my body, maybe I’d have thought twice about choosing this moment to bring out the cards. Had I been more tuned into my sponsor’s presence, perhaps I’d have waited until later in the day to bring up the idea.

In a word, I hadn’t been embodied. I’d been all my head with my idea.

As it happens, the story has a happy ending. The team eventually adopted a form of Kudo Cards, albeit using a post-box system rather than a public wall. And yes, their morale did improve.

According to Jurgen’s (Management 3.0’s founder) original conception:

  • Management 1.0 is “doing the wrong thing”
  • Management 2.0 is “doing the right thing wrong”, i.e. making well-intentioned interventions, but in a non-conducive environment.
  • Management 3.0 is defined as “doing it right”

I see Management 3.0 as something like ‘facilitating a community to manage itself in a way that best suits the context’.

The point of my story is to emphasize that being fully embodied is crucial for sense-making. As Management 3.0 practitioners, it is vital for us to be able to tune into what an individual or community needs in order to manage themselves effectively in any given situation. In a word, it’s about reading the room. That means being able to tune into ourselves, and others, on multiple levels.

One way of thinking about these levels is the concept of our five intelligences. These each give us a different way of perceiving things:

#1: Our senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell: Collectively known as exteroception.

#2: Interoception refers to the sensations we can feel within our body: Our internal organs, connective tissue and, at times, our skin. Most of the time, we manage these through unconscious processes, but there are some we can easily sense, like butterflies in our stomach and, with practice, we can learn to detect many more.

#3: Proprioception is our sense of our body in space: We know where our left knee is in relation to our right elbow without having to look at either of them. Gymnasts and dancers have highly developed proprioception to execute their moves with precision.

#4: Conceptual intelligence is perhaps the most familiar network: These are our stories, narratives, beliefs. It’s how we explain the world and our place in it, to ourselves. Many of us with intellectually focused educations have exclusively worked on this capability at the expense of our other intelligences.

#5 Emotional intelligence as an every day use, and the ability to be aware of our emotions and those of others: Neurologically, emotions are a bridge between body sensations and conceptual intelligence. Emotions are how we label a collection of feelings (with a name, like “joy”) and attribute meaning to them.

  • In which of these intelligence do you feel strongest? 
  • Which of these could you work on? 
  • How might working on your embodiment help you as a Management 3.0 practitioner?

For more on how to embrace embodiment to level up your impact as a change leader, download a free primer on the topic here.

Photo credit Alice Dietrich via Unsplash

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