I have no doubts that an executive gives the cultural footprint to a company, this is for good and for bad. I have always believed in an open and honest relationship with the others and more than anything with the team I work with. Total transparency affects people motivation and commitment, in a healthy way. I believe in a strong coherence between what it is said and what it is done because there is nothing more effective than managing by example. This is what I give, this is what I would like in return. I deliberately decided not to use the term “expect” instead I used “would like”, because I consider expectations the main cause of self-inducted disappointment.
In details: we should empower the team, give them responsibility, accountability, and authority over their work, to receive, in exchange, commitment, motivation and increased productivity. This is the so-called Reciprocity, one of the six cognitive tactics to influence and persuade the others, as suggested by Cialdini.
Do ut des, when people feel obligated to reciprocate a real or an assumed favour received. The system of reciprocity has ruled from immemorial time thus, it is natural to feel instinctively compelled to return the favour. I remember a speech by the sociologist Peter Roche de Coppens, he said that the action of giving creates an emotional debt that needs to be paid back at the earliest opportunity in order to re-establish the emotional balance.
As people in charge, we need to take responsibility for whatever happens in our companies. People tend to trust and are more open to listen to people in a position of authority. Ipse dixit also explained as sophisma auctoritatis, means that a thesis is accepted only by virtue of the authority of those who declared it.
A business decision starts a sequence of events. Often, we are the starting point of such process, where the power process begins, unless we break the rules and adopt a circular organization instead of a pyramidal one.
Power is the connection of oboedientia et protectio to sovereignty. It is the ability to obtain obedience from one or several subjects even in case of disagreement or opposition. This is the case of force power and it is used in a coercive way.
Companies and managers have always found very comfortable to have their pyramidal hierarchies, linear organizations and rational control, however the era of elitist, top-down management and deterministic ideals are over. At present, we are living in the innovation era that opens the future to the multitude, and not only to a minority.
You can also read to: how to change the corporate world one step at a time
As R. Semler wrote, “The key to management is to get rid of the managers. The key to getting work done on time is to stop wearing a watch. The best way to invest corporate profits is to give them to the employees. The purpose of work is not to make money. The purpose of work is to make the workers, whether working stiffs or top executives, feel good about life.” Applying Semler’s leadership style is not easy. The challenge is to create a real model of values and pass it on to each person in the company, being sure to have the right people on board. .
Consistency, commitment, transparency, integrity. These are the values we want to apply to the companies. This can be done! The last company I lead, was managed with unheard of freedom for an American company. My colleagues were encouraged to use their abilities and own initiative to set and achieve targets. Allowing employees to have more control certainly increases productivity, but furthermore it promotes a relaxed and happy atmosphere. Flexible working hours were introduced. Responsibility for keeping track of them now rests with the individuals as one of the major changes was to do away with the ‘Clock-In’ machine. By the way, if we have to control the people we hired, we didn’t hire the right people and it is our mistake.
The companies we lead, are individual-based companies, composed of people, run by people. With this clear in mind, we should make a paradigm shift to generate a radical change to our professional lives. We will see results.