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Sociological Zoos to World Class

Sociological Zoos to World Class

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Published by Paul Richardson
A key question to ask is, do people perform better in Maslow’s basement or in his upper floors?
A key question to ask is, do people perform better in Maslow’s basement or in his upper floors?

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Published by: Paul Richardson on Sep 12, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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from Socialogical Zoos to World-Class
The impetus for this post is my observation of a wide range of management venues where themanagement skill evident in the actions of the managers toward their subordinates is ham-handed atbest. I have talked to people in healthcare, education, manufacturing, retail stores and on and on whotell stories that will turn the stomach of anyone who has knowledge of the underlying theories of goodmanagement.The sad thing is that not only are the subordinates punished for this lack of management skill but theorganizations are punished as well because a great deal of performance potential is suppressed bymethods applied by these inept managers. If more managers had the training, role models andexperience to create world class work teams we would be more productive but also healthier, happierand more fulfilled.The levels of stress are much higher than they should be in too many work settings which impactsnegatively on the health of workers. This stress also spills over to family and friends of the worker. Akey question to ask is,
do people perform better in Maslow’s basement or in his upper f 
loors? I am
referring to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs.
Leadership research has progressed from the directive, “humans as production line robots” style of the
turn of the twentieth century to valuing more and more human centric styles culminating in the
participative style. Now, don’t misunderstand, more human centric does not mean coddling and lack of 
concern for performance. In fact it is basically the opposite. It is a style where workers are expected tocontribute to understanding of problems and to the decisions to fix those problems while satisfying theirpersonal needs concurrently. This creates a synergy that is missing in the majority of organizationstoday.Why?Management schools have not done well in training managers. They have done well at trainingspecialists; accountants, marketing experts, human resource experts, but not managers. HenryMintzberg relates why in his book
Managers, not MBAs.
He points out the lack of the “clinical”
experience provided where the needed skills can be practiced. He likens the situation to a swimming
coach who lectures his swim team in all of the stroke techniques but doesn’t get them wet in the pool
where their techniques can be perfected. He says many will drown in the first real world swim meet justas many managers effectively drown, i.e. fail miserably. The sad thing is that most remain in place
continuing to harm the people “lucky” enough to work for them and the organization’s performance.
 A big problem is the all too common belief that if a person is smart enough to be an engineer, medicaldoctor, masters or doctorate level nurse, etc. they will automatically make a good manager. Wrong!Excellent management is a distinct skill set and requires a real commitment to learning how to managewell.
Organizations have a wide variety of disparate management capabilities and no core beliefs or skills andbecause of that no or far too few role models, to provide the coaching required to grow and developeffective managers.Bureaucratic requirements
tend to naturally reinforce the “thou shalt not,” directive style creating that
robot, sociological zoo environment that has been proven to work poorly. It takes managers with highcognitive abilities and a strong founding in the relevant human psychology coupled with effective clinicalexperience to overcome the directive style and free people to contribute and grow. And you need your
people’s contributions if you need to perform well. The bureaucratic chains are biggest and most
limiting in areas like education and healthcare.Common Terrible Management StylesAutocrat
this is the most common. This person believes that nothing should happen without theirdirect order from on high. This effectively means that the only person motivated in the organization atleast with respect to organization goals and mission fulfillment, is the boss. Employees will likely bemotivated to escape the zoo but certainly not to make the organization perform better.Chameleon
this is the person who changes to reflect the cu
rrent popular “norm.” They have no realcommitment to anything but being part of the “in crowd.” This person can’t be counted on to beobjective in evaluating performance, especially their own. They can’t be counted on to defend you if 
you are unfairly
criticized. They can’t be relied on to make good decisions or help employees grow in
capability.Unengaged Figure Head
this is the captain of a boat with no rudder that drifts with the current. Oftenon to the rocks. This person feels that they should be rewarded for warming a chair and nothing else.They typically have a self-image that has no relation to reality.Sadist
this is one of the worst. Working for one of these is very painful. Get out of there fast. Anupper level manager who accepts this type of performance in one of their managers is incompetent and
should lose their job if they can’t face dealing with their sadist manager.
—this person makes promises every time they need you to work overtime at a moment’s
notice, miss you wedding ceremony or the birth of your child, or graduation of your child. This personpromises paid time off, a raise, a promotion, whatever it takes to get what they want. However, theyhave no intent of fulfilling their promise. People hate this sort of manager.Bi Polar
this manager has two modes OFF and FULL SPEED, MANIC. The changes in mode happen withno warning and cause all sorts of consternation and stress for employees.
Setting the Stage for World Class Performance

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