Some years ago as a young manager, I was concerned with some of the behaviors I noticed from members of the team. Some of these behaviors were new manifestations from some colleagues, while others were part of the personality and character of the individual that manifested it.
These behaviors were poor work ethic, lack of initiative, no motivation, negative on everything, etc....whereas there were other behaviors such as, highly driven, focused, results oriented, happy, always with a positive outlook on negative situations, etc......
With psychology not being my area of expertise, I decided to take the opportunity to use social psychologist Douglas McGregor's theories on employees' behaviors within an organisation to see if it would help with my little self study. I compiled McGregor's two theories which I'm calling in this article "The Carrot" and "The Stick" and sent it out to members of the team and asked them to indicate which points in the theory they agreed with in relation to how they work and their preferred style of management.
For those of us unfamiliar with McGregor's theories, they are as follows:
TITLE: The Human Being Has an Inherent Dislike Of Work and Will Avoid It If He Can.
The STICK: Theory X
Assumption: Management's role is to coerce and control employees.
- People have an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it whenever possible.
- People must be coerced, controlled, directed, or threatened with punishment in order to get them to achieve the organizational objectives.
- People prefer to be directed, do not want responsibility, and have little or no ambition.
- People seek security above all else.
The CARROT: Theory Y
Assumption: Management's role is to develop the potential in employees and help them to release that potential towards common goals.
- Work is as natural as play and rest.
- People will exercise self-direction if they are committed to the objectives (they are NOT lazy).
- Commitment to objectives is a function of the rewards associated with their achievement.
- People learn to accept and seek responsibility.
- Creativity, ingenuity, and imagination are widely distributed among the population. People are capable of using these abilities to solve an organizational problem.
- People have potential.
The Results: The results from the questionnaire was no surprise, 95% chose The CARROT, the other 5% however, saw it as some sort of conspiracy or trick and decided to not answer at all. This was a clear indication to me that the human being prefers development "the carrot", but their behaviors in some or most instances, depending on the culture of the organisation, were an oxymoron to their preferences. So the next question was.
Why isn't this happening? Well there are three reasons.
1) Leadership: "THE CARROT"
In most instances, people are energised by The CARROT and that carrot is the mission, vision, incentive, goal or purpose as to why they are doing what they do, and furthermore the role that each person and function plays in the whole scheme of things. Have you ever been in involved in a project that was successful either from childhood to adulthood? If you were to tell the story, the one part of the story that never gets left out is what role you played. That's because the role of each person in the BIG PICTURE was clearly communicated by the leader, and communicated so well that if anything went wrong no one on the team would want it to be on their watch or in their area.
2) Management: "THE STICK"
I'm wondering as I have managment as point number two, how many people may be asking if I am being redundant as leadership is point one? Well truth be told, management and leadership are quite different. Most managers because of the title, self assume the role as leaders and fail at it, then resort to the manager strategy and pull out the stick. Management is very vital to the BIG PICTURE and most leaders may not be good managers. A manager's role is to ensure successful execution of the area for which they are responsible and to align accountability when needed. This is where The STICK approach comes in, but it must always follow the leadership.
3) The Employee:
As much as Theory Y puts responsibility on management, the employee must also understand his/her role in the mission & vision of an organisation. If the company's purpose or values are not aligned to that of the employee, then it is recommended that the employee find a new job because they will always question "why am I here?" The CARROT in the instance of an employee should be the WILL and DRIVE to GROW in his/her profession or develop well enough to be able to move on. Far to often I have seen fellow colleagues make moves from one organisation to the next with no upward movement. Salesman today - salesman tomorrow, CSR today - CSR tomorrow, Technician today - Technician tomorrow, etc. This should be Salesman today, supervisor tomorrow and manager the next. No growth = death (not literally) and this should be our STICK.
The Conclusion: Both The Carrot and The Stick are needed, but should not be applied with a broad brush as different employees are at different stages. It would also be wise to note, that with poor leadership and management an employee that falls into Theory Y today, can become despondent and show charactertics of Theory X tomorrow and vice versa.
© 2015 - 2017 OPAAT-SWY Consulting Ltd.
Article Image Courtesy: www.coaching-journey.com
About the Author: Lyndon is the founder and managing director of OPAAT-SWY Consulting Ltd. He is passionate about life and unlimited achievements. His areas of expertise are sales, customer service coaching, leadership and motivational speaking. He has also contributed to Culture Pulse Magazine.