Wednesday, April 28, 2010

If You Want Something Done Right do it Yourself: A Response to Do I have to do Everything Myself

Just another blog
I was listening to NPR today while driving to and from errands. I forget what program was on, but the hosts and guests were discussing motivation in the work place. The day's dialogue covered management strategies, company policies, and personal motivation many people may be lacking in the current economic climate. These subjects have obvious curb appeal to business owners and individuals who occupy management positions. The greater lessons I took away from NPR's programming are worthwhile nuggets of wisdom and common sense anyone with a pulse can benefit from. I am specifically writing this post in response to Crank Old Man's posting "Do I have to do Everything Myself?" because hopefully he can take away worthwhile tips on motivating others as well as motivating himself, and for the love of god quite his bitching.
The first part of the program dealt with management strategies and company policy. The second half was dedicated to individuals whose careers would fit in perfectly in the major motion picture "Up in the Air." These workers felt trapped, too old to start anew, unable to change their company policy due to fear of losing their jobs, or people who had lost their jobs and didn't know how to reenter a hostile workforce at while entering their "golden years." For those looking to motivate others there are a list of do's and don'ts. Lets start with the negative and get it out if the way.
A major sign of incompetence is micro-management. According to the guest expert, micro-management is symptomatic of a lack of confidence in oneself and one's employees. Micro-managing is simultaneously patronizing and counter-productive. This style of management communicates to workers that a manager isn't confident in his employees or his overall business plan. A boss should hire people he or she is confident in. If they are given a task, respect the employee's capability to deliver. If a boss does not its speaks volumes to their confidence in hiring. Employees also feel stifled when micro-managed. Their accomplishments no longer belong to them, they are now the boss' compliments, and the employee is only a pawn.
This phenomena is also seen in children. Look at Tiger Woods, many would argue it was his father's drive, not Tiger's, that propelled Tiger to the level of success he obtained in the golf world. Tiger perhaps sought to reclaim his autonomy by pursuing his desires and impulses out at clubs and famously with porn stars and Perkins' waitresses.
What people ought to do to motivate those around them to increase productivity or to work towards a common goal is offer autonomy. Companies who allow employees to focus on goals saw huge increases in productivity. "Focus on goals" means to give an employee a task and let that worker accomplish it in his or her own way in their own time. Many employers fear work will never be done if its on the employee discretion when to work. When workers complete their work they are rewarded monetarily. Companies who employed these techniques reported high moral amongst workers and increased productivity. Never underestimate the power of ownership. When an employee feels they own the fruits of their labor they take pride in their work and produce a better product.
Finally the program addressed men and women who felt trapped in a job, too afraid to complain, or recently let go. The advice was rather similar to the managers listening. Don't blame others, take the horse by the reins and take actions. One caller commented that," No one has the power to make you feel bad about yourself, only you have that power." Employees who felt trapped, who didn't like a boss, or a boss' tactics were encouraged to empower themselves by putting themselves in their boss' shoes. Try and figure out what the boss' insecurities are, what they want to change, what their mandate is. Once an employee can figure out what a boss wants they can then assuage a boss' insecurities by taking proactive steps to let a boss know their concerns are being addressed.
Another woman called in, she had recently been let go from a job she held for 28 years. Instead of entering a deep depression this caller took this time to better herself at the ripe age of 65 she reenrolled in University courses.

Cranky Old Man, what I'm trying to say is... You gotta a problem with me? Then change yourself. The power is in your hands, the ball is eternally in your court. Insanity is trying the same thing and expecting different results. If you don't like the current results mix it up. Its fun and its keeps life interesting. Remember even the Cranky Old Man can be an eternal optimist. Isn't it nicer to be nice?

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