What are signs of a mature person

The mature manager. A neglected category

Volatile market conditions, rapid change cycles, complex organizational environments and demanding employees create ambiguous contexts that present managers with great challenges. These times and framework conditions require mature executives, people with increased confidence in life, with trained wisdom and common sense.

What is maturity?
Our human life is a permanent becoming. That is why we humans are never quite "mature". Human growth and maturation is therefore a process-like occurrence and takes place in the interplay of system and external influences (environment). It is characterized by a gain in competence, by an increase in ability and ability. In other words, it is a process of "growing up". A mature, adult personality has reason, autonomy, personal responsibility and is characterized by an independent mastery of life.

The logotherapist Alfried Längle describes it in an even more differentiated way1 human maturity. According to his research, a cognitive, emotional, moral and existential maturation can be observed in humans. The mature person looks at the world through the glasses of "sobriety" and accepts the circumstances as they are (cognitive maturity). He is related to life, has access to his feelings and can get involved in relationships and values ​​(emotional maturity). He stands by himself, can authentically represent his own life, take responsibility for his actions and meet other people openly (moral maturity). Ultimately, he feels as a person and in his work embedded in larger contexts and is geared towards a constructive, meaningful future (existential maturity).

The Benedictine and Zen master Willigis Jäger2 adds further aspects to this picture. For him, being mature or wise shows itself in the ability to gain distance from oneself and from the many supposedly important things in everyday life. It still shows itself in the ability to view the world, life, work and people from ever new perspectives. Shows interest and joy in beautiful things, in music, literature and religion. It is also shown in the ability not to let worries weigh you down and to master the art of letting go. Those who hold on prevent themselves from growing and maturing, says Willigis Jäger.

How do you recognize immature people?
Immature people, according to the logotherapist Boglarka Hadinger3, can be recognized, for example, by an extreme I-orientation, which is expressed in the inability to think from the other side. People with little maturity usually show themselves unable to forego instant gratifications for a greater value and flee from responsibility. They are more oriented towards the benefit than the sensible and are often resistant to advice. Ultimately, according to the therapist, they rarely ask themselves whether something is good for or harmful to this world.

For the American university professor and psychotherapist Thomas Moore4 narcissism, which is also often observed in managerial circles, is a sign of immaturity. “A narcissistic person wants - clumsily and ultimately in vain - to be special. To do this, he has to specifically reveal his presence: See what I can do! I am special, I am chosen, I am right in everything and you are not. The narcissist thinks he knows how everyone else has to think and live - just like him. (...) The narcissist is unable to get involved in the community. He dreams of being extraordinarily and sensationally successful. «This exaggerated ego leaves little room for others and uses his life energy less for the benefit of the company or the people working in it, but more on his own award.

How does human maturity show in day-to-day management?
A mature personality lives and leads on the basis of what we call common sense. Using common sense means, according to the well-known Benedictine Father David Steindl-Rast, who wrote a booklet on this subject that is well worth reading, to live according to something »understood«. Means to stand with both feet in the world and to look at things not only with understanding and reason, but also with the heart. Common Sense lives from a unity of head and heart: »Our common sense can only be healthy if it is not only located in the brain, but comes from the heart - from the heart as the innermost area of ​​life in which we are profoundly with all life in the world are one «, says Steindl-Rast.

A person who lives by common sense feels that Freud is sharing his wisdom with everyone else. He is ready to learn from others, just as he can pass on to others. He enjoys the diversity and otherness of human individuality and grants others their success, which he actively promotes. This sense of common ground and the feeling that it is only in relationships that you can discover who and what you are is probably the central competence of leaders in the 21st century.

In contrast to the ego-centered narcissist who declares himself to be the center of the (corporate) world, the Common Sense manager has understood that the best way to give meaning to one's own life is to contribute to the meaningful life of another. This also includes taking yourself less seriously. "Those who no longer take themselves so seriously breathe more freely and only then gain real weight in the assessment of others," observes the already quoted Steindl-Rast.

Another hallmark of human maturity is the ability to talk. It shows itself in a confident communication, which is supported by a DU-orientation, constructive conflict management and the virtue of humility. This virtue is also evident in dealing with power. Power corrupts in immature hands. Authoritarian power is afraid of being questioned. Real authority, on the other hand, can be asked for and uses its power to encourage people to become independent. This empowerment distinguishes mature managers.

The Jesuit and manager consultant Niklaus Brantschen points to the subject of mindfulness5 down. In an interview, he argues that managers should practice the art of mindfulness, in the "mindful perception of life in all its forms, wise judgment and appropriate action for the benefit of all, including the environment and posterity." Because only when people are with themselves is, according to Brantschen, he can also be completely with the others and with the cause. People who are at peace in themselves also need less the constant encouragement from outside, which keeps them dependent and makes them unfree to make good decisions. In addition, the mature manager lives out of a feeling of gratitude and in the knowledge that nothing can be taken for granted in this life.

Ultimately, a mature manager practices the art of self-reflection and is curious and open to feedback from his colleagues and employees. Only if we repeatedly question and review our constructions of reality in dialogue with others are we in a position to develop further and to gain the following of our employees.

Finally, let's leave the author Christina Löwe6 Have their say: “But the managers of tomorrow, who in a digitized economy who absorb and process more complexity than ever, have to promote innovation and creativity and want to lead people without hierarchies, are facing new and major challenges. We wish you, your teams and employees that the topic of maturity will therefore play a role in the future. "

(1) Alfried Längle: Phases in adult life? - Development and becoming beyond the determination bso - Professional Association for Coaching, Supervision and Organizational Consulting Switzerland - Journal 2, 6-10 (2014)
(2) Willigis Jäger: Life never ends. About arriving in the now. Herder publishing house. 2005
(3) Boglarka Hadinger: Maturing with life. Interview in World of Women No. 4 | 2009
(4) David Steindl-Rast: Common Sense. The wisdom that connects everyone. Claudius publishing house. Munich. 2009
(5) Niklaus Brantschen. A leader burns for a cause without burning out. Interview in KMU Magazin. No. 10 | 2015
(6) Christina Löwe: Why good leadership requires personal maturity. In EDITION F. Article from January 22nd, 2016