During a period of enforced solitude during the Covid-19 pandemic, Manfred Kets de Vries became introspective, reflective, and considered how executives could emerge from unprecedented global events. The result is a collection of 23 thought-provoking and focused chapters to help executives take stock and re-evaluate their path during a time of uncertainty.
Beginning with essays on ‘Managing Self,’ Kets de Vries starts with people’s search for meaning and how we can deal with this important question. Given our need for meaning, the question of human energy is discussed. What gives executives energy? What makes them feel alive? How best to use this energy? Several essays in this section deal with the effects of the pandemic on people’s perception and management of time.
The second section focuses on leadership and highlights several executive types you’ve probably encountered at work and struggle to deal with; complainers, belligerent people, and borderlines, will be part of this parade. Also touching upon mental health issues and how organizations should deal with this, this section gives a deep insight into the leadership issues that we now face in what might be termed ‘the new normal.’
Finally, Kets de Vries places societal issues under the microscope. Tackling a multitude of interrelated topics, he explores the challenges of bringing in democratic processes into organizational settings, as well as the perils of loneliness and the issues faced by women in organization – and how society can better deal with it.
Littered with Manfred Kets de Vries’ trademark wit and psychological insight into the pressing issues of today, these essays can be read independently or as part of a guided tour around the daily perils of executive life.