Chapter 11 Reading: New Wine, Old Bottles

November 5, 2009

I have mixed feelings about this article. First, the author talks about reimagining the roles of managers and workers and seeing them as being equal but different. That’s all well and good, but, as a practical matter, how does it really work? Sure you should treat your employees with respect and not lord your managerial power over them, but at the end of the day, they know you are evaluating them and that you, as the leader, are ultimately in charge of whether they remain in their job. No matter how hard you try to redefine the perception of these differing roles I really do not think employees buy into this type of stuff. For me, the key is to treat your employees with respect and be honest, fair, and upfront with them.

I did like the emphasis on mutually determined performance objectives—what the author calls a performance agreement—and the push towards encouraging leaders to become a source of help for their employees. But, I am not sure that the creation of such performance agreements will always be enough to allow leaders to take a more hands off approach. I think that will work with some employees, but what do you do with those who need a more hands on approach? In those cases, I think you have to be more director and less coach, even if you have worked out performance objectives in advance. Some people just need that extra little push.

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