Saturday, March 18, 2006

Managers need the S-factor to set workers' hearts aflutter :: Gulf News


By Lucy Kellaway, Financial Times
. . .
According to an article in the February issue of Harvard Business Review, great leaders need to know how to intimidate. . . .

The article, written by a psychologist at Stanford business school, is the bravest thing I've read in a long time. For the last two decades there has been only one view on management and leadership, and that is the squidgy-soft view. This reached a peak 10 years ago with Daniel Goleman's book Emotional Intelligence, which argues that what leaders need in the workplace is empathy, and since then no one has dared challenge it.

By suggesting that intimidation is good, Roderick Kramer may find he is at the receiving end of it. When I wrote, unremarkably, a few months ago that employees who screw up should be blamed, all hell broke loose. I got plenty of blame (and a fair amount of intimidation) from management thinkers who cling hysterically to the stupid modern view that, when it comes to motivation, only carrots are allowed. . . . Prof Kramer's research bears this out. He didn't start out with the theory that fear is good he came upon it by accident. Initially he went out into the field to look for the terrible psychological damage done to people with intimidating bosses. Yet to his surprise he found that many people actually enjoyed working under them, and given the choice would come back for more.
Not that Pol Pot would make a very effective manager.

But managers do need to confront and be blunt when necessary. Suppose there was an employee who consistently parked in the handicap spot at work. How many managers do you know would write an email going to everyone alerting everyone it is against the rules to park in the handicap spot if you are not physically handicapped. Yet the culprit is never confronted, does not desist, and no mention is made in his file. Is that the boss you want to work for?


Blogger nzm said...

The last paragraph reminds of a story that involves Steve Jobs of Apple fame.

When he was first at Apple, every day he used to park his black Mercedes in the handicap spot right outside the door on the Cupertino campus.

It used to steam Apple's R&D vice president Jean-Louis Gasse. One day it finally got the better of him.

As Steve got out of the car, Jean-Louis yelled across the parking lot: "it's for physically handicapped, Steve - not the mentally handicapped."

True Story!

9:34 PM  
Blogger don_veto said...

I don't think Gasse works for apple now and Steve is still the boss. I believe in management by example, your staff looks up to you as the best correct example to perform work, and if an staff screws up, you talk to him face to face with no audience. At least this system works with me.

4:16 AM  
Blogger nzm said...

Gasse left to run his own company, and then many years later Steve came back to run/takeover Apple.

2:44 PM  

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