The old way of controlling activities no doubt has worked for a long time. But to make it happen you needed:
1. To own remarkably more power than the ones controlled
2. More skills than your employees
3. Few alternatives for staff to move to
4. Low cognitive content of the work to be performed
Let’s have a look at these areas in an old and present perspective:
1. Power of management (and promotion!)
In the really old days no 1 was given by the system: The boss of your factory or medieval count simply owned the ground/the factory/your soul. Today? Starting at school, most students know more about computers, gaming and tv series. What about at work? In an ever-growing process more and more of your employees are not attracted to the “management power” – either not listening to controlling managers – or skipping the whole management thing, having a great life instead of a promotion.
As they invented or at least knew a lot more than the staff they hired this was mostly true.
2. The boss had more skills than their staff
Move backwards a few centuries and the Boss had full control of every aspect of all processes. Now, try keeping up to speed with all your employees areas of knowledge!
3. Few alternatives to move to
In ancient Sweden, workers were often in deep debt to the owner of the factory. And if they were not, their income was mostly in a local currency only valid in the area of production. Today? Youngsters know moving is learning!
4. The cognitive content of work
Whatever position you check today – from CEOs to cleaning the streets – need computer interaction, as well as at least a faint understanding of our mission and strategy – to act appropriate in my operative/tactical actions. Hence, if you staff is in disbelief you’re in trouble. There are just TOO many ways of stopping machinery if you disagree with management. No need to go to drastic actions like throwing your clogs into “Spinning Jenny” (workers interfered with the machines ruining their market by throwing the “sabot”s into the machine – hence “sabotage”!).
Here’s a view on what a too wide divide management – staff may result in:
So – what leadership would you go for to prevent this divide?
As you know by now – I have my ideas…