Jan 25, 2018
Robert Beezat
Character Based Management

Excerpted from a Chicago Tribune article by Rex Huppke:

 

After years of writing about workplace problems, I've finally found a universal solution: Every company in America needs a Robert Beezat.

 

You probably haven't heard of Robert Beezat, but after I tell you about him, you're for sure going to want one. He's a veteran manager, now 74 and semiretired, who has written a book that isn't the kind you'd find on shelves at airport bookstores or stacked high at a Barnes & Noble.  It's not glossy or filled with fancy charts and edgy buzzwords. It's short — an even 100 pages — and not much to look at from the outside. But, oh, what's inside. Imagine you're lucky enough to have a veteran colleague, a person of character, a person whose career is enviable, and that colleague takes you aside for a couple of hours and shares the secrets to being a good worker and a good manager.

That's what it's like to read Beezat's book, "Character Based Management." (Even the title's a little dull, BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER!) The secrets he shares aren't complicated: shut up and listen; learn by watching others; do what you say you're going to do; foster a sense of love — yes, love — in your workplace.

It's all simple, in a sense, but it's not the sort of thing we hear often enough. If we did, and we took it seriously, our working world would be considerably more pleasant.

"I'm one of 10 kids, the second oldest, and we learned to get along with everybody and work with each other and care for each other and respect each other," Beezat told me. "I guess that just always kind of carried over into my work life. You read all these management books and they all have some pluses to them, but they don't last because they don't get at what the core is when it comes to management, which is who you are. If you don't have good character, people see that."

He builds his book around a wonderful quote from Henri Fayol, a French engineer who developed a general theory of business administration in the early 1900s: "In making decisions … the moral character (of the decision-maker) … determines the quality of the decisions."

Beezat encourages readers to "find ways to understand" the characteristics and behaviors that enhance a person's character, things like kindliness, equity, a willingness to accept responsibility and tact.  He writes: "Our behaviors flow from how we understand reality as a whole; and, in particular and very importantly, how we understand ourselves and others as human beings."

I'm guessing most people have known someone in their career like Beezat, a person who just seems to get it, the one colleague everyone likes to work alongside. He recounts one of his proudest moments as a manager, when he was leaving for another job and a co-worker spoke up at his going-away party and said: "Bob, you bring out the best in people."

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