Simply put, managers are more effective—and the organizations they work for are more profitable—when they behave as if their employees are in charge of them, not the other way around.
This is perhaps the most concise statement of my management philosophy.
Managers are more effective, in other words, when they subordinate themselves to their employees. Good management happens when managers listen to, and support those they manage. And bad management happens when managers try to use their ‘authority’, and dictate, control, coerce, or otherwise attempt to tell their employees what to do.
Nor is the logic behind this philosophy hard to follow:
(1) Organizational success is dependent upon great people. Superior products, savvy marketing, or low, low prices can only get you so far. It is individual workers doing their very best each and every day, that are the real guarantee of sustained organizational success
(2) Engaged workers outperform their less motivated counterparts. Job engagement is what distinguishes a mediocre, or bad employee from a great one. Engaging workers is therefore the key to optimizing worker productivity
(3) Workers engage in their jobs when they feel supported in their work. People want to be heard, and feel as if their opinions matter. Job engagement is therefore best achieved when managers listen to their employees, and give them what they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability
What all this means for managers is:
Most managers today behave in ways which hurt, rather than help the organizations they work for
Businesses that engage in traditional, top-down management practices put themselves at a competitive disadvantage. In that, they not only jeopardize their own and their workers’ livelihoods, they put their organization’s very survival at risk
Your company’s organization chart (if it has one) is probably upside down
This is the critical insight that will make you a better manager. Do this one thing and your employees will more fully engage in their work, and therefore consistently perform at their highest possible level.
And that, in turn, that will make your business more efficient, more effective, more competitive, and more likely to succeed.