Freedom and Dignity
I read an interesting article about management and leadership on LinkedIn recently. The article, posted by John White, enterprise account executive at SKYBEAM, was one that I am sure all of us could relate to on some level. More importantly, it was one every company leader should read and then ask: Are you a strong motivator who has the best team in place and is steering growth, or do you have a lackluster team and are further hindering it with negativity and arrogance?
The post, titled "7 Management Traits That Will Make All Your Employees Quit," covered poor leadership tactics, such as micromanagement, pitting employees against each other, not setting a good work example, being abrasive or demeaning in communicating with team members and employees, and, of course, passing the blame for failure onto others.
While knowing what not to do is beneficial, I believe strongly that knowing what to do is of equal or greater importance. In his book, "Beyond Freedom and Dignity," American psychologist B.F. Skinner details why freedom and dignity actually do not exist. (OK, not so upbeat, right? But we all know we gotta do what we gotta do in life.) However, he does detail why the perception of freedom and dignity in our lives and in our work is of the utmost importance. Without this perceived autonomy, helplessness occurs and motivation diminishes at an alarming rate. Translate that to business goals, and initiatives do not exceed expectations.
Transformational leadership requires those in management and leadership positions to be passionate about what they do, remain secure in their role as leader, and have a clear strategy and vision for how to achieve big-picture goals. The best way to motivate your team, for starters, is having the right team from the start. If you have that, then allowing them the "freedom" to be the best at what they do is easy. Stifling their expertise and creativity by not allowing them that freedom and dignity is a surefire way to be certain your top talent looks for freedom and dignity elsewhere.