Archive for February, 2010

The gods and the styles of management

February 6, 2010

According to the Greco-Roman mythology, the Olympic dynasty had two great rulers – Zeus/Jupiter, and his father Cronus/Saturn. The myths around those sovereigns have a great deal to tell about the two kinds of management I will from now on refer to as Jovian and Saturnine.

First let’s take a look at Saturn. The most intriguing thing about this god is how Greeks and Romans regard his reign under very different lights. For the Greeks, Cronus was an abominable god whose main feature was his taste for newborn sons. It was a god that was scared to death of losing his kingdom to one of his sons, so he ate them to avoid being dethroned. But he was eventually cheated by his wife into eating a stone instead of his son Zeus, who succeeded in finally overthrowing him as the god’s supreme ruler. For the Romans, on the other hand, Saturn’s reign was the Golden Age, in which people had no need for judgments or punishments, since everyone just did the right thing.

Zeus/Jupiter, on the other hand, was equally adored on both Greece and Rome – comme il faut, since he was the current supreme god. His leadership style was completely different from his father’s – he was an autocratic leader, and had no scruples on throwing his dreaded thunderbolts on whoever dared to challenge his orders. Jupiter cult is a cult of personality, he’s a god that demands personal obedience and reverence (in that, he resembles his colleague YHWH). The Olympic kingdom was kept in order by his supreme wisdom and his charisma, and he liked to remind everyone of that.

From this short overview, one can already understand what are the main features of Jovian and Saturnine managers.

Saturnine management understands that the supreme ruler shall be no man (or god, for that matter), but the law. Every one should be subject to the law, including the one that happens to be the manager. This kind of leadership is completely averse to ad hoc decisions, should they happen, they should be framed as soon as possible in a general law, that should apply to all subsequent cases and even retroactively to the initial one. On the other hand, it’s a control freak – every single thing should behave as the general rules prescribe, everything should be in order. It’s associated with the element Earth, with defined processes, with checks and balances, with quality assurance, auditing and a non-relativist moral and ethics.

Jovian management, on the other hand, understands that people are more well-equipped to deal with the uncertainties of real life than some cold and immutable law, that, for him, only applies to some ideal – as much as non-existent – world. Moreover, to be able to rule effectively, the leader must have power, wisdom and charisma. There’s no black-and-white right, a willful and strong leader can make things right, unless he’s pointing to a really doomed direction. It’s associated with the elements Fire and Air, with charismatic, autocratic and strong leaders, with trail-blazing and strategic thinking.

Besides the fact that myths are built over the deep archetypes of human psyche, there’s a more direct link, confirmed by the research of the Gauquelins – people born with the planet Jupiter close to the horizon or the mid-heaven are natural born Jovian leaders – the most striking example is the Sun-king Louis XIV himself; while the people born with the planet Saturn in the same positions are naturally inclined to the exact sciences, to subjecting the real world to the universal laws of physics and mathematics.

Saturnine types (such as myself) usually look down at Jovian types and vice-versa, but the fact is that they’re complimentary and both are needed to any enterprise’s or project’s success. For instance, it’s commonly acknowledged among astrologers that a trine (a positive aspect, in which the energies of two planets are naturally and harmonically combined in a person) between Jupiter and Saturn is a very good indicator of business success.

Maybe it’s time for Zeus to call his old dad from Tartarus and usher him in as his co-ruler.