Why was management invented?
That seems a strange question, doesn’t it? Surely management isn’t an invention! Surely it developed in response to industrial needs and was built over a period of time!
Well, that’s right up to a point. But the first management model was designed at the turn of the 20th century.
Called Scientific Management (or Taylorism, after its developer Frederick Taylor), it was designed to increase efficiency, especially in relation to labour productivity.
The industrialist Gary Hamel says that management was actually invented to turn people who had been working in the fields or craft houses into semi-automatic robots, who were there to increase productivity and become as efficient as possible in a factory environment.
Many of today’s ideas of management grew from this Industrial Revolution model, where there was careful measurement of specified results.
There were standards to obtain and managers’ roles were basically to correct people who were not pulling their weight.
Fast forward a hundred years or so, and we have a legacy that still exists from that management model.
Some managers still react as if it’s their job to catch people when they do something wrong!
What happens when a person is only recognised when they do something wrong?
Their morale drops, their ego is deflated, their self-worth diminishes, their self-esteem is dealt a blow and their self-confidence falls through the floor.
What could possibly be the purpose of a manager only discussing performance with a team member when it’s poor?
Obviously, the manager will retort with the fact that they are bringing it to the attention of the co-worker and they want them to improve.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting improvement; it’s the methodology that needs to change.
How about if the person does something that you want repeated?
How should you respond?
That’s the perfect time to catch the person when they do something right!
It shouldn’t be patronising or sarcastic (“Oh, well done for getting in on time!”) or demeaning (“Oh, Chris, you’re so good at dealing with customer complaints…would you take this one on as well?”)
It should be done with respect for the individual and specific enough so they can see what needs to be repeated for them to have the same recognition again.
It could sound something like this:
“Just a quick word, Sam. I thought the way you dealt with that customer complaint and turned it around so quickly was excellent! You were able to calm her down and get her onside again very quickly. I especially liked the way you listened empathically and told her about the solution you could offer, without dwelling on the problem. I just thought I’d let you know how well that went down. Well done!”
This proves to Sam that you have been attentive and have recognised when the efforts they have put in have yielded results.
By highlighting what they did right, you create reasons for them to try it again.
What happens when a person is recognised for doing something right?
Their morale improves, their self-worth goes up, their self-esteem is built up and their self-confidence is given a positive boost.
Watch out for the next time you can catch someone doing something right.
See the difference it makes to the person and their overall job satisfaction.
You might be surprised how such a little thing can produce such big results!
Originally published: 3 January, 2019
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