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Tiffin University
Reaction Paper on “The Power to See Ourselves”
Yuexin Wang

Reaction Paper on “The Power to See Ourselves”
In “The Power to See Ourselves”, the author Brouwer argues that there is a direct relationship between manager development and manager’s self-concept (Brouwer, 1965). In most cases, individuals describe themselves in relativistic terms. The “I”, being the significant self, is the product of self-realization. This cannot simply claim to be “intelligent or meticulous” without due reference to the attributes of other individuals. In short, the “I” exists only in relation to another “I.” As such, with respect to professional growth, it is more appropriate to use manager development rather than management development. The primary objective of which is to assist individual managers to grow. Note that the emphasis is on the manager rather than the management structure.

How is then self-concept related to human behavior? According to Brouwer, self-concept is a crucial tool for understanding human behavior in general (Brouwer, 1965). In manager development, the primary point is on personal behavioral changes. Self-concept varies from managers to managers. A successful manager may credit his success to his ability to skillfully resolve technical problems. Another successful manager may attribute his success to an ascribed status. Because self-concept varies from manager to manager, it is important that each manager recognize keystones for growth. These include self-development, conflict resolution, and holistic participation in relevant management practices.

Unavoidably though, discomfort arises when there is role conflict. A manager is not just a manager. He may also be a father, a brother, a confidant, and a friend. When role conflict arises, the individual is forced to prioritize, and thus, to choose one or two aspects of his self-concept. In other cases, conflicts arise when there is an apparent difference between the “I” (self-perception) and “how others see me.” A healthy and pragmatic way of resolving these issues is to simply recognize the fact that one’s self-concept is a product of the self and the immediate environment. Natural resistance is expected since self-concept is primarily the patterning of attitudes, habits, and urges. As the person matures, natural resistance diminishes.

Self-concept is also related to selective listening. Individuals may accept only those things that suit their personalities. Therefore, a person only chooses some aspects of reality that match his or her expectations. This is quite natural since one’s capacity to sort out, process, analyze, and classify information is limited. But more importantly, this selection process is a form of natural resistance. As much as possible, individuals avoid conflicts because they are annoying and fretful. Natural resistance, through selective listening, allows individuals to maintain his basic character and direction (Brouwer, 1965).

Management practices are often viewed in technical rather than in abstract terms. Since management insights are related to the manager’s self-concept, changes in work attitude are primarily influenced by the manager’s behavioral outlook. If the manager is having difficulty coping up with mental stress, then work becomes sloppy and random. On the other hand, if the manager is easily coping up with mental stress, then his work attitude becomes encouraging and positive. Thus, self-examination becomes crucial to building blocks of professional growth. Self-examination is a preparatory condition for achieving self-actualization. Self-actualization refers to the feeling of being at ease and satisfied with oneself.

To illustrate this point, it may be necessary to refer to some aspects of Chinese business culture. In coastal cities, most managers assume that motivation is an important factor for boosting employee satisfaction (an aspect of...
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