Self-Reliance in a Time of Uncertainty

There are two main kinds of uncertainty – internal and external. Many external kinds of political, economic, social, educational and occupational uncertainties arise from internal uncertainties. The greed, arrogance, superiority and emotional and social neglect that individuals at the top of financial and some multi-national companies exhibit arise from inner insecurities. An illusion that many of us subconsciously create is that financial prosperity will lead to emotional and social prosperity. It is more realistic to say that the making of profits needs to include equal efforts to foster emotional and social security.

Profits before people have not worked and will never work. People before profits is not a common practice but, ironically when employees are individualised and responded to in dignifying ways, they are more motivated and, as a result, responsibility, creativity and productivity rise. Many work organisations complain about employees’ poor level of work engagement, but do not reflect on the poor level of relationship engagement with the said employees. Often, organisations assume that the twenty per cent of those highly engaged in work are more mature, but, often, these individuals are driven by inner uncertainties and success and achievements are their ways of attempting to reduce their inner securities. These individuals do not make effective managers or leaders, a reality that is all so clear in the present crisis in the economy, particularly, the financial sector. Trust has been lost, but the trust that was there was pseudo. It is only when individuals trust themselves that they can reliably meet the entrustment that clients and employees make of them. All professions – parenting, teaching, financial, political, social, creative – are based on trust. Trust means that you can be trusted to take care of your own psycho-social-physical wellbeing and those of employees and clients in the carrying out of your professional responsibilities. Bullying, intimidation, threats, greed, arrogance, superiority and lack of transparency belie the practice of trust. In his inaugural speech, Ronal Reagan said that ‘if you have not achieved governorship of your Self, how can you govern a country.’ This is true for any individual who has a leadership or managerial role. It has not been incumbent on people who are given management roles to examine their own level of self-governorship and this deficit in the selection and ongoing training of managers is a neglect of those managers, of their charges and, indeed, of the organisation itself. Males, in particular, shy away from examining their personal and interpersonal level of immaturity and this has not and does not bade well for the wellbeing of society, especially, when eighty per cent of management power lies in male’s hands – none, more so, than in the political, financial and health realms of our country.

It is the responsibility of each adult – no matter what their career status is – to look to take responsibility for Self and for one’s own actions. This examination is not optional, it is the essential means of becoming adult. Each one of us comes into our adult years carrying emotional baggage – inner uncertainties about ourselves – and the resolution of these insecurities is critical to the wellbeing of the individual and the lives of all other individuals he or she encounters. The recovery of a strong sense of Self, of one’s unique individuality and of ‘our power beyond measure’ automatically leads to the recovery of seeing and valuing the individuality of others. This is true for parents, teachers, managers, politicians, health care professionals – indeed for all professionals.

Whether we like it or not, as adults, our interiority totally determines what we feel, think, say and do; it particularly determines the nature of the relationship with others and the extent to which we take responsibility and are accountable for our own actions. When the Government talked about replacing the Head of those Banks that belied their clients’ trust, I wondered what criteria are they using to determine the suitability of the replacements? A question that also needs to be asked is what level of maturity and self-governorship do those Government Ministers have who are overseeing the changes in the management of banks? The more that individuals in leadership roles take on the responsibility of understanding themselves and create the opportunities and encouragement for others to do likewise, then a radical shift will occur in society that will benefit us all. 

Tony will give a public lecture ‘Self-Reliance in a Time of Uncertainty’ on Tuesday, 31st March in Silver Springs Hotel, Cork, 7.30 – 9. 30 p.m.