Mike Henry of Lead Change Group wrote a great article in response to another by George Cloutier.
Mr. Cloutier’s article,entitled, “Your Company is Not a Democracy,” was published in Entrepeneur magazine. This “Turnaround Ace” and NY Times best-seller is a big proponent of the “just view me as god” approach to business management. Nice. He provides other nuggets such as “be a dictator” and (my personal favorite) “Tell your employees ‘Don’t think – obey.”
I’m really at a loss for words. Really, George? Fear? Benevolent dicator? Is there such a thing? Really? We’re not indentured servants or furniture. I think the Soviets used a similar business model and we all know how that worked out.
Read Mr. Henry’s article first and then go to Cloutier’s.
8pm – The above was written quickly this morning after reading both articles. I’ve had the day to reflect and want to expand upon my more visceral outburst above.
Unfortunately, I have seen it all too often (and, to an extent, am living it now); small business owners who believe as Mr. Cloutier does. They see employees more as burdens, a suck on company resources (profits). If a business is suffering, Mr. Cloutier teaches to blame the employee first. After all, if they were working harder, the company would be rolling in profits and the owner would be rich. Fear is not an effective motivator. It only gets you the bare minimum, just enough not to be fired.
Instead, maybe they should look at their business plan (if there is one), their growth strategy (if there is one) or even the industry/market. Maybe it is just dead, or over saturated.
Mr. Cloutier makes a snide remark in his article regarding the suggestion box. Employees aren’t paid to think, just obey. After all, if they were as smart or as great of a person, they would be running their own business.
Employees are smart. Listen to them, they are the ones doing the work. They might have innovative ideas that could cut costs, increase productivity, increase customer service.
I just hate reading articles like Mr. Cloutier’s. It just perpetuates bad behavior on the part of employers. That’s not managing or leading. It’s bullying. Times have changed. Feudal lords and serfdom went out of style a few years ago (I think).
Owners cannot do it alone. They need our help.