Find Your God

The ancient Greeks had many gods and each person was free to follow the god of his choice that suits his personality, talent or profession. This way, like-minded people congregate and obey similar rules. Organizations are the same as there is no one right way to organize or manage.

According to Charles Handy, there are at least four ways to manage that is there are four gods: Zeus the king; Apollo, god of harmony, order and reason; Athena, the warrior goddess; and Dionysus the god of individual liberty. Therefore to be happy and effective, you must find your god.

A Zeus will be miserable in an organization or department full of Apollos.  Zeus people love power, are used to getting their own way and rely on people rather than procedures to get things done. They hate paper work, long meetings and bureaucracy. You will find Zeus running their business, in marketing, sales and business development.

Apollos on the other hand like order, harmony, routine and hierarchy. Such people are happier where stability and predictability are valued, for example in Finance & Control, Audit and Logistics. 

Athena people love problem solving, teamwork and trying out new things. Athenians are generally not interested in your title but are concerned whether you are competent and able to contribute to the task. You will find them in Consultancies and Advertising.

The fourth and final type are the followers of Dionysus, who are very individualistic. Doctors, lawyers and professors are usually worshippers of Dionysus. They work in organizations but see the organization as serving them and not the other way round. I suspect the few Dionysus you find in bureaucratic organizations will struggle to fit in.

So who is your god? Find him and then find a temple (department) where he is worshipped and you will be happier and more effective.

For more, read Charles Handy’s “Gods of Management”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s