Now, the Good News

Lesson 1: Topic 1 of 4

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Does this sound familiar? Are you dealing with dissatisfied and unhappy staff? Are you having difficulty recruiting new staff? What about your company’s relations with and reputation among your internal and external clients? If less than stellar, how can you turn these things around? Or, if you’re satisfied that things are good right now, how do you keep it that way? What can you do to keep your staff productive and engaged? To fix a poor work environment, or maintain a good one, isn’t easy, but it is increasingly necessary. It’s worth the effort and it CAN be done.

Douglas McGregor, in his well known The Human Side of Enterprise, formulated a business model which has been hailed as “one of the most important pieces of management literature ever written.” McGregor’s then-revolutionary thesis divided leaders into two groups: Theory X Managers and Theory Y Managers. The first group were those who believe employees are basically unwilling to work and need to be commanded and controlled. The second group believe employees are self-motivated, and naturally work hard for organizations where there is mutual trust and appreciation. McGregor discovered, and studies again and again over the more than half century since his book was published, have shown that compared to Theory X culture  companies, workplaces that embrace Theory Y outperform their competitors, have greater teamwork, and have greater internal alignment. 

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The real eye-opening fact, though, was that over time Theory X managers actually did have employees who needed constant supervision, while Theory Y managers more often than not supervised employees who were passionate about their jobs. In other words, employees conformed to what was expected of them. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Never forget, it’s leadership’s attitude that sets the tone for the company culture, and the culture delivers.