The Manager's Dilemma
Managing people in the manufacturing or distribution industries is surely comparable to playing a professional sports game: You are constantly under pressure to meet quotas and get the job done. We all know our peak times have arrived because stress levels are high, people are feeling overworked, and they feel like the stress will never end. So how can we as managers keep our cool when it feels like everything is about to fall apart?
Perhaps you’ve heard of the X Theory and Y Theory: This Economist article discusses Douglas McGregor and his book “The Human Side Of Enterprise”, in which McGregor explains that there are two types of managers. McGregor calls the first type an “X Manager” and the other a “Y Manager”.
The X Manager is described as someone who has a hard time trusting his employees. He micromanages and doesn’t inspire people to want to innovate or to contribute more than the minimum effort to complete their work. He feels like they do not like their job and do not want to be at work, and that he must push them hard to make sure that they stay on task. However, this approach does not offer employees the freedom they need to excel and to feel pride in their work.
The Y Manager has trust in his people and their abilities. He wants to see his employees succeed and believes they can. He inspires them with the freedom be creative and flexible in getting their work done. He knows that employees have lives outside of work and makes sure they can come to him with any issue if it’s affecting them at the work place. He sets the environment up to be an open one, where there is no tension between manager and employee.
You can think of this dilemma as a self-fulfilling prophecy, as described in the old turn of phrase “What you think, you become”: Whatever the manager thinks is the situation, is normally what happens. So if you decide to be an X Manager, your employees will learn to hate their job, and learn to fear and distrust you. But on the other hand, if you are a Y Manager, they will learn tlove their work, and appreciate and respect your ability to inspire them to excel.
So it comes down to your approach as a manager. To increase productivity in your team, you need to allow for more flexibility and freedom for your employees to produce their best work. All of which in turn results in less stress for everyone. Let us know how you are creating this kind of environment in your workplace!
Written by: Alexander Borsos