Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

True Leadership Creates Jobs People Want to Do

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

True Leadership Creates Jobs People Want to Do

Article excerpt

Look at how organizations treat employees, and you'll see various combinations of these three types:

1. Benevolent monarchy. A leader creates an organization built on mutual respect.

2. Bureaucracy. Rules, policies and committees are more important than individuals. 3. Sado-management. The organization is moved by threats, intimidation and firings. The largest group is the middle, the bureaucracies. The fastest-growing segment is the sados, the "results-oriented" companies who set high and inflexible financial targets and then look the other way as manager/tyrants lash forward their weary employees. This works - take a look at the Pyramids of Giza - but may be doomed by an improving labor market. And that's when the benevolents shall flourish. I suppose that every manager looks in the mirror and believes that a leader is looking back, but that reflection is usually just a bureaucrat with embossed business cards. Leadership isn't telling people what to do and having them do it. Leadership is creating an environment where you don't need to tell people what to do. A leader understands the needs of the led and creates a workplace where employees don't need leading. Take the case of Maggie Lifland, who built three insurance agencies in resort towns in Colorado. She started out with the typical assembly-line approach, where you break jobs down until they are simple enough for anyone to do, and without much training. But these little jobs attract little minds, and even the smallest mind grows bored. So the structure ensures turnover and discontent, and thus you enter a downward spiral where the job gets ever simpler as you have to constantly replace the people doing it. As Lifland put it, "If you're a manager and you create jobs that are so boring that you wouldn't want to do them, why should your employees?" What she did was to redesign her insurance offices. The common setup is for each person to have a set of accounts and to handle everything to do with them. …

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