So, as we concluded in Part 4a of this series, is work or the “boss” or your fellow employees in your quality world? Chances are that there are “select people” at work that you include in
your quality world. With these folks, you can “be yourself” and you look forward to having lunch with them or working with them on some project. Here you find support, acceptance, synergy and likely accept their input and even disagreement without feeling judged. Perhaps, there are others with whom you interact as little as conceivable because they do not help you “feel as good as possible as often as possible.” These folks are why we call work…work. This being said and with the acknowledgement that we could now address relationships at work including peers, subordinates and bosses applying “Choice”… let’s focus on Boss Management which is how we will refer to the boss who uses control as their management style.
Typically, the boss sets the standards for an organization. Depending on their Thinking and Behavioral Attributes, they push forward an agenda reflective of “who they are”, what is important to them and who is holding them accountable to what. Blatant bossiness is somewhat on the decline in today’s managerial climate though certainly it is nowhere near absent. Control approaches to performance are as prevalent as ever.
Some of this “control presence”, however, is not always the bosses doing. Why? Because control is still such a feature in our world, in the worker’s mindset that even when collaborative synergizing steps are taken they are interpreted as controlling. Creating this change in a workforce does not happen overnight but over time. Part of that explanation is that the longer lower level managers operate in a control environment themselves the more they use that pattern of interaction. They are “use to it” and can even defend it as their modus operandi.
Boss Management is not terribly complex. The essentials are:
- The boss sets the tasks and norms for quality and timeliness of the work and seldom consults the workers. The boss is frequently uncompromising and the workers must learn to modify their efforts as they are asked to take on increasing workloads as their role is always in flux or suffer the consequences. The boss may fight for their right to boss without interference. The more they boss the lower the quality of work that follows.
- The boss usually tells the worker how to do the job without asking them how to do it better.
- The boss or a designate inspects the work and because the worker is not very involved in this process, most do just enough to get by. Those that work harder and “ruin the curve” are frequently ostracized by their fellow workers. Then and overtime, the inspector comes under increasing pressure to approve low quality work. Recall that the title of this series is “Creating a Workforce That Willingly, Wholeheartedly and Happily Chooses Effectiveness.” What has happened? Work for the worker is not in their quality world and doing quality work is secondary to meeting a standard to “get by”.
- When workers resist the boss in their myriad of highly creative techniques they almost always do so in ways that compromise a quality organizational culture. The boss responds with threats, punishment and more accountability to force the workers to do what they want. In so doing, a workplace is created and sustained that from top to bottom engenders adversarial relationships and fear. A very good friend of mine and client working for one of our nations’ top business solutions companies explained, “I have been a Top 4% performer for the last 12 years for my company. I have literally made them millions. I work feeling threatened as it is clear that I am never more than 90 days away from being fired. I can’t wait to get out of here and am looking for my chance.” (Choice Theory by Glasser)
As an employer would you want to lose a Top 4% performer? Would you want them to be thinking this way? Some of your top performers may be looking for something else right now. They may like their work and dislike the culture in which they do it.