Monthly Archives: December 2010

Bullying Behavior Should not be Tolerated in the Workplace–Period!

In business organizations there has always been a fairly large contingent of people who think that occupying a supervisory or managerial position gives them a license to bully–to intimidate and demean the people who work for them.  An article in a recent issue of USA Today by Laura Petrecca referenced research which found that one in three adults had experienced workplace bullying and that 75% of the bullying was from the top down.  Bullying is immoral because it hurts people both physically and emotionally.  In addition, employees who are bullied are far less productive and no longer have the company’s best interest at heart.   There’s only one way to stop bullying in the workplace and that is to adopt a company-wide policy of zero-tolerance for anything that even resembles bully behavior.  It’s then up to senior management to model this policy.  As Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric once said, ” In an environment where we must have every good idea from every man and woman, we cannot afford management styles that suppress and intimidate.”  This is why there is no place for bullying in my new management model.

The Most Essential Work of a Leader is to Create More Leaders

As I mentioned yesterday, Ram Charan, coauthor of The Talent Masters, has a list of the top corporate talent-management mistakes.  Topping the list is “leaders not held accountable for developing talent.”  Developing talent means leaders have to give up their control over people and let them decide what to do, how to do it and learn from their mistakes.  The reason most leaders don’t do a better job developing talent is that doing so runs against the grain of the traditional management model where the name of the game is top-down direction and control.  In other words, closely adhering to the traditional management model actually prevents leaders from developing new talent.  This is another reason why the traditional model has to be abandoned and replaced with a new management model.  As Mary Parker Follett said in her book, Creative Leadership which was published in 1924, “Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power, but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those who are lead.  The most essential work of the leader is to create more leaders.”

Why do so Many Companies Choose to Pay Front Line Employees as Little as Possible?

This has always been a mystery to me.  Front line employees are the people who do the work that the company gets paid for.  It’s the quality of their effort that determines the financial performance of the company.  Yet this is the place where senior management chooses to minimize costs.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to invest additional money and resources in the one group of people who actually drive the company’s success?  This seems like a “no brainer” to me, but this is what the traditional management model, with its emphasis on direction and control, encourages senior management to do.  This, in turn, resuls in mediocre financial performance.  A new management model is clearly needed.  Stay tuned.

Never Place a Loner in a Leadership Position

A recent issue of The Wall Street Journal featured an interview with veteran management advisor, Ram Charan.  The article also included Mr. Charan’s top five list of corporate talent-management mistakes.  Included in the list was “placement of loners (people who prefer to be alone or avoid the company of others) in leadership jobs.”  What are these people thinking?  If you don’t like being around people, how are you ever going to get anyone to follow you?  The prerequisite for any leadership position has to be a love for people.  This is why the traditional management model, with its emphasis on direction and control, doesn’t work.  It focuses only on performance numbers and ignores the people who do the work to drive those performance numbers.  My new management model focuses on getting the most out of people which means the performance numbers take care of themselves.

Bosses Who are Mean to Their Employees Are Not Qualified to be Bosses

On a pretty regular basis, I receive emails from people who have to put up with mean bosses.  Bosses who are mean are simply not qualified to be bosses and their mean behavior should not be tolerated by the people who hire them.  Mean behavior is extremely counterproductive because it de-motivates people big time.  Mean behavior hurts and demeans people.  As a result, it does not bring out their best behavior at work, only their worst.  Mean behavior on the part of a boss is the equivalent of shooting himself or herself in the foot.  You’re essentially destroying the one thing that can make you successful.  There’s no room in my new management model for mean behavior.

Understanding Human Motivation is the Key to Solving the Employee Engagement Problem

The fact that some people are engaged at work while the vast majority of others aren’t tells us that engagement is all about all one thing— motivation.  This brings up the age old question of what really motivates people.  Given that thousands of books and articles that have been written on the subject of human motivation, one would think that we’d understand it better than we do.  Over the years, researchers and authors have tried to find cause and effect relationships between nearly everything and human motivation.  For example, they’ve tried to determine the effect that things like pay level, job satisfaction, intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, positive reinforcement, meaningful work and the like have on an individual’s level of motivation.  They’ve even taken some things they’ve learned from laboratory experiments with pigeons, rats and monkeys and applied them to human motivation.  But, instead of clearing things up, these researchers have actually made human motivation seem more complicated.  My new book clears up this motivational mystery.

We’ve Been Searching for a New Management Model for a Long Time

Fifty years ago, Douglas McGregor concluded that a new management model was necessary if businesses were going to succeed in tapping into the unutilized potential of their employees.  He knew the effect he wanted to achieve; he called it the Principle of Integration where the job of a manager is to create a set of conditions such that employees could achieve their own goals best by directing their efforts to the success of the business.  In other words, the harder employees work for the success of the business, the more satisfaction they experience regarding their personal needs.  The problem, however, is that McGregor couldn’t figure out a management model to make this happen.  The purpose of my new book is to finish what McGregor started.

The Traditional Management Model Prevents Businesses From Tapping Into The Unutilized Potential of Their Employees

In 1960, Douglas McGregor laid a solid foundation for a new management model in his book, The Human Side of Enterprise.  Keep in mind, the term “employee engagement” was not in common usage at the time, but McGregor was fully aware of the low level of employee engagement that existed even back then.  As he put it, “Many managers would agree that the effectiveness of their organizations would be at least doubled if they could discover how to tap into the unrealized potential present in their human resources.”   He reasoned that because the traditional management model denies individuals the opportunity to satisfy certain needs at work that are important to them, using this model actually prevented managers from managers from tapping in to the full potential of their employees.