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25 May 2014

Better Manager and Leader with Hungry Ghosts Strategies

The front 10 seats are reserved for the hungry ghosts
What a strange title! What has this Singapore superstitious Hungry Ghost Festival got to do with modern professional management?

The Toaists Chinese in Singapore believed that when people die, they become ghosts and live in hell. Once a year, such ghosts have a one-month holiday when they can come up and roam the streets and enjoy themselves to relive the experiences of human life. Such a month falls on the lunar 7th month every year.  They are called Hungry Ghosts because they are hungry for food, entertainment, money and most importantly, attention.

Imagine if your neighbourhood suddenly sees an influx of people, surely there will be disorder, disturbances and even chaos?  Would you call the police for help?  What the Chinese do in 7th month is not to call the police, but instead get together to do praying and offerings (food and paper-made things like money, house and cars) to them throughout the entire 7th month.  To keep them occupied and entertained so that they will be happy and not disturb human lives, they offer entertainment like Ge-tais (live performance songs and dances on make-shift stage) too.  In short, the Chinese did not treat the Ghosts as nuisances but instead offer love and care to them in both physical and mental terms.  Over time, such a custom has become a norm and even in ultra modern scientific Singapore, people still carry on this tradition.

To be a better manager and leader, we too can learn from the Hungry Ghost Festival.  The 'hungry ghosts' in your team represents those people that are always hungry for more pay, staff welfare and attention.  Instead of ignoring their requests and suppress them, you offer them love and attention.  Your 'live performance on make-shift stage' may mean you 'perform' by giving them praises and recognition in front of others in the workplace.  You can do it once a year, after the performance appraisals and throw in a dinner and dance too! 

In short, if people disagree with you, object you, express their unhappiness and even protest against you, do what the Chinese do in 7th month.  Don't suppress them, instead embrace them and offer them your love and attention in both physical and material terms.  Remember, when people are well-fed and happy, they will naturally be calm and peace-loving.  There won't be any chaos and you don't need any police to control them for they'll be self-controlled.  They will love you, work and live with you harmoniously and most importantly, support you.  You can get everything you want in life if you help people to be happy in their lives.

By Andy Ng, whose next 2-day course for How to Be a Better Manager starts on 4 August 2014 Monday.  If you want this course to be done at your premise at a convenient time, there is a slight sur-charge of 10%.  Call Andy at 8201-4347 for details.   Related to this:
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  2. How to Listen like a Guan Yin
  3. The unbelievable 7 truths of training
  4. From good to great with skillfulness in 7 ways
  5. It's the trainees that make training great, stuipd!
  6. People are more capable than you think
  7. Work hard is not hard and hard work is hard to work hard
  8. Selling when people don't want to buy

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