Secret 5 Keys to Genius Management of Employees
At the time I never realized what a significant impact my doctoral dissertation would have on my life down the years. Again and again, it provides insight into why organizations are so dysfunctional, and even painful, as places to work. I begrudgingly admit my advisor was right.
You did a dissertation back then because you had to. You had to do “original research” in order to earn a PhD at Florida State University. I had a great topic on Democratic Education – Can It Work? investigating schools like Neill’s Summerhill and Rudolf Steiner’s schools. My committee chair killed my proposal. I was crushed, especially because he could not come up with a good reason other than, ‘I don’t like it!’ which I think meant personally, not professionally. I was forced to look around for a new topic. I found one that was timely and had merit, so I went with it.
30,000 Teachers at The Tangerine Bowl – Summer of 1967
In 1968, Florida experienced the first statewide teacher walkout. In retrospect, it was even more incredible than most realized. There was no teachers' union, yet every teacher in Florida was involved. It was a massive uproar, and I was in the middle of it in several ways. Fellow students had spouses who were local teachers. Tough decisions had to be made.
It began in the summer of the, then, Tangerine Bowl Stadium (now the Citrus Bowl) in Orlando. HALF of the teachers in Florida, over 30,000, voluntarily drove to Orlando for a meeting in the Florida Summer sun, to discuss the possibility of walking out. It was the seed of the first teacher walkout in American history. Because it was illegal to strike, the teachers were asked to resign when it was to happen. 9 months later, on February 19th, a Monday – over 30,000 teachers did not show up in their classrooms full of students.
And then it began…the uproar from the parents, the public, the politicians, and especially the ego-driven new governor, Claude Kirk, who had promised huge improvement in education, only to slash the education budget by $190,000,000 soon after taking office. Fingers pointed in every direction. Guilt and anger hung in the air like volcanic ash.
But let’s get to the point. My dissertation was “Work Environment, Risk-Taking and Teacher Walkout Behavior – A Study of the 1968 Florida Teacher Walkout.” In that study, I relied heavily on a burgeoning piece of work by a clinical psychologist, Frederick Herzberg. He has many publications – especially about industrial psychology – the workplace, motivation, efficiency and effectiveness, but I think his “Two-Factor Theory” was especially significant.
Herzberg's theory basically states that what we have assumed motivates people in the workplace, doesn’t. Money, promotions, status, better offices, etc., just keep people from being dissatisfied. Those things might bring “a smile for a while” but they do not satisfy people for very long. If money doesn't, and promotions and better offices don't – what does? Let me quote the man directly:
Brilliant Frederick Herzberg
Frederick Herzberg, a clinical psychologist, proposed a brilliant theory on work motivation by the name of the Two-Factor Theory. Here are five quotes from Dr. Herzberg that tell you most of what you need to know about a healthy work environment and how to be a genius at the management of employees:
- “If you want someone to do a good job, give them a good job to do.”
- “It’s the job of a manager not to light the fire of motivation, but to create an environment to let each person’s personal spark of motivation blaze.”
- “Idleness, indifference and irresponsibility are healthy responses to absurd work.”
- “You cannot love an employee into creativity, although you can … avoid his dissatisfactions with the way you treat him.”
- “True motivation comes from achievement, personal development, job satisfaction, and recognition.”
The Key to Genius Managing
There, in #5 is the key! What encourages people's eagerness to go to work is from a sense of achievement, feelings of personal growth, the work itself is meaningful, and being respected and simply noticed for what you are doing.
It is the creation of an environment where those things can naturally occur that makes a manager a genius!
My point is, for significant and lasting change, we need to see what is going on with the people, not the data, or spreadsheets, or big 5-year plans. I am not saying those are unimportant. I am saying they are of LESSER importance than the people involved if you want a motivated workforce. We must get to know employees, find out what is going on inside them, and discover how we can help them solve their problems, as well as get their job satisfaction needs met by working in our organization.
That is the challenge. That is how to be a genius at the management of employees!
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