Value Dreamers! Love the Disgruntled!

Any relationship between the boss and his subordinates is built upon the basic conflict which is very primitive by nature. Bringing this situation to absurdity it can assumed that the goal and aspiration of any employee is sitting at home or better in Bahamas with an exotic cocktail in hand, doing nothing and systematically getting decent sums of money to his or her account. At the same time the boss (again we bring our illustration to extremes for clarity) would like his employees to live in the office and work incessantly without even a lunch break – why not using special probes to feed personnel without their discontinuing the work? But this is not all! The employer dreams of the unselfish effort from his subordinates, besides their high work ethic and effectiveness, since he would not pay anything for their zeal and fervor.

This conflict depicted in a grotesque form shows that its sides pursue directly opposite goals and the management’s objective is the search of an effective balance between the employer’s interests and worker’s goals.

Historically, people came in clusters, communities, teams on various occasions and at various levels. They came together because they shared similar religious views or one craft/trade, or belonged to one tribe. The capitalist way of life gave us another occasion for flocking together: in order to help each other earn money.

The reason I have daily meetings with my employees has nothing to do with our belonging to the same nation, or sharing the same interests, or even having similar professional aspirations. We cooperate because we believe that by pooling our efforts we can earn more than each of us separately. At this point, it’s high time to question the premise I began with. Sharing the attitude of helping each other earn money, we may avoid a traditional conflict…

  Let’s imagine a typical situation: an employee comes to his boss requesting a wage rise (unscheduled vacation/ working time cut/a walled office, cellular communication coverage, etc.). If you recall the basic conflicting priorities of manager vs subordinates, the former a priori tries to block all “wants and wishes” of the latter and find counter-arguments, in order not to do the employee’s bidding. The manager understands that he will never be generous enough for his employee and, whatever can be done today, this will not be sufficient tomorrow, and his subordinate will come again to ask for something else. All managers share the same sentiment in this respect: it does not matter what you do for your employees; they won’t be happy and satisfied anyway. If this is so, then why doing anything at all?    

The paradox is that the more your employee wants, the more (s)he is capable of giving you in return and the stronger their influence on the company’s development will be. Greedy and egotistical workers having wishes and goals are much more valuable than those who ask for nothing. Because the former, coming to the office every day, believe that here they’ll be able to get resources they need for their big future – i.e. the money, skills and experience which will help them put their ambitious plans into life. Those who do not seek or want anything lack the desperate motivation to move mountains. That’s why I always keep away from them.

Everything stated above means that it is fundamentally important for the manager not to block the “wishes and wants” of his subordinates, but use them as a personal motivator for effective work. Think about the dreams and personal plans of your employees, work together on their materialization and give your employees a chance to draw nearer to their targets through effective performance. Then you’ll see what true motivation really means.

I’ll give just one example. Suppose an employee comes to your office to ask for a wage rise. Find out what drives him or her, what is hidden behind this urge to earn more, and then sit down and think over the plan of achieving new performance indicators which will explicitly benefit you as the boss and bring the much-desired rise to your employee. Show him or her the path of achieving the desired goal through corporate effectiveness. And never block the desires and aspirations of your subordinates, since they are an indispensable resource for the company to move forward.

By and large, any manager must be a coach for workers to achieve their personal objectives. He is not a supervisor, warden or inspector. He is a slave and servant to his worker’s dreams. It is the stance he should take because the only way to reach a company’s ends and change it for the better lies via personal goals and dreams of its employees.

As a matter of fact, as follows from everyday practice, demanding employees with strong personal ambitions, wishes and egotism often become the very “voice” that helps a company change, reform and get better. Why are these people adherents and proponents of changes? It’s obvious: because as they try their best to reach their personal ends via the execution of corporate objectives, the employee is vitally interested in performing them in a fast and optimal way. Facing an obstacle, this employee is naturally interested in removing it, given that obstacles make his personal goals more distant. Accordingly, this employee signals the problem to the manager and often, if it is within his or her competence, gets personally involved in addressing it.  

It is known that corporate systems can be changed through the voice and exit. If you express your discontent about the system’s principles, this is the voice. If the system does not budge, you totally disagree with it and can do nothing, this means the exit. Let’s take the subway, for example. Suppose that as a user you are extremely dissatisfied at the way it operates: the stations you need are closed time and again, escalators get broken, but the ticket price remains rather high. You put up a rally of protest, sign a petition… but nothing works: the public authorities do nothing to change this situation. Your obvious reaction is the exit: you stop using the subway and switch to an automobile. But cars are used by upper-middle class people, more demanding, proactive and loud, than those who remain loyal to the subway. What happens to the system? It remains in place but is getting worse, while those who provided the feedback signaling the need for changes have exited the system.   

Drawing an analogy with management, we can say that it is important for any executive to welcome people voicing their concern and to try blocking their exit, because these people are channels of reform, providing crucial feedback for the manager and the moment they leave the company it gets weaker. Surely the manager cannot barricade the exit, forcing a valuable employee to stay, but he may leave the doors open in case this employee wants to come back. Anyway the voice is the proper energy needed to create a strong company; these are strong people who do care and are not ready to bear with poor performance…  

Yet I’d like to make an important point once again: a person voicing his or her concern is not easy to deal with and is the manager’s headache (there is a price to be paid for all goods). Therefore, managing this type of people requires special competence from the manager. Being an adept of changes, the “voice” is prone to go digging around, looking for his/her role in the company and place in this life, seeking constant development. The new tasks and horizons opening in front of these proactive people require serious inner transformation from them. But having inadequate resources, experience and power for doing this, they are inclined to replace them by external changes. You most certainly have friends who, after going through a deep inner crisis, changed their image, resigned from their positions or had an affair. This is an eloquent substitution case, whereby external distractions are used to relieve the inner conflict and stress. Thismayhelp, butonlyforawhile. Why do I say this? If one day, the “voice” you treasure very much comes to you and say: “I quit” – try to understand the true motives of this decision and help this person settle the inner conflict.   

It’s obvious that outward changes are a lot easier while inward rearrangements, exiting a comfort zone, managing emotions, changing the attitude to one’s inner ego – there are no textbooks, instructions or methodologies on how to do it. And it takes quite a long time. Changing a place of work is much easier, to be sure, but is it a right move? Will it bring satisfaction, or a person will be deeper drawn into a crisis? It’s rather easy to get down to the true inner reason of any decision. The only question needs to be asked: why? You want to quit your job which no longer brings you satisfaction and joy? You face emotionally disturbing challenges? Why??? It could be that your “voice” fears public addresses, but will have to take part in an all-Russian conference with 600 people in attendance? Or a drawn-out conflict has reached a stalemate? And in the opinion of the employee, the only way to escape it is resignation?

Take care of people who treasure your common cause! Root for them, their personal success and dreams! 

Order the book for 15$
Price does include international shipping cost
Send review
Your review *