Many managers tend to view their role in one of two ways, namely: "I'm going to make sure no one gets one over on me - my staff are going to work hard cos they're scared of me", and the other totally opposite approach: "I am going to make my staff happy in all areas of their work life".
There are parts of each of these philosophies which hold true and should be pursued: ie the fact that productivity is key to success
as well as the belief that happy staff are essential to sustain that productivity.
Where the first approach falls down is that it fails to recognise the 'work satisfaction'
quotient as being integral to a successful team.
You can crack the whip and believe
that the fear written large in your employees' eyes is a fair indicator that they are giving their all, but you'd be so wrong! From a purely logical point of view, if your staff are using up a large portion of their emotional and intellectual abilities in an attempt to stay safe, there's precious little left over for them to be productive and creative. You believe you're getting 100% when they simply don't have 100% left to give.
If you actually developed your team in a high trust environment
and paid attention to their overall level of work satisfaction, you'd allow them to free up all the brain space currently being devoted to their needing to 'stay safe'. Only in a scenario where people experience genuine respect, will you achieve optimum results because their attitude shifts from the need for external motivation to self-motivation
Given what I have just written, I expect you're asking
why I am denigrating the manager whose sole focus is on maintaining their employees' happiness...
Well this has huge pitfalls too. Firstly, we have to identify the reason this manager feels that her employees' well-being should always be her goal. If you re-read the first sentence of this paragraph you'll see that I have said this approach is the manager's 'sole' focus.
That should raise a few alarm bells. Why? Because, this can never be the only driving factor.
What happens when the manager has to make and/or implement unpopular decisions
- do you think the employees are going to welcome this and be 'happy' about it? Bring on serious conflict within the manager. Should she push through with these essential changes despite the negative feedback from her team, and how hard will it be to maintain a firm stance in the face of her employees' obvious 'unhappiness'?
Do you see my point? This caring manager hasn't been able to identify the issues which are intrinsic in a successful team.
These include a well-run company where decisions are taken strategically to ensure overall success and longevity
. The staff could love coming to work, but they won't have a job if every decision is run past their daily happiness-metres.
Happiness is multi-faceted. It requires fairness, clearly communicated boundaries and vision, open and honest communication, trust and respect.
All of these are dependent upon some unpleasantness being experienced from time to time by each and every employee, with the knowledge that the end goal is worth it.
The first manager is highly autocratic and uncaring
. But there are times when both of these attributes are necessary. If this is the manager's approach 24/7 however, she has effectively ensured a lose/lose outcome.
The second manager is strongly democratic and collaborative
. Both these styles are essential to creating and maintaining a strong team. But if this is her approach 24/7, the team will implode.
Effective management calls for the use of a multi-pronged approach
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