There is a widespread belief that the best way to manage a donkey is through a combination of stick and carrot.
As long as the right ‘extrinsic motivation’ is applied at the right time, at the right end, there is a chance that the donkey will do what we want it to.
- Unless of course the donkey has had enough carrots for one day
- Or becomes so accustomed to the stick that it is no longer effective
- Or the donkey sees it self interest lying elsewhere – enough carrots for one day – I am heading off for the nettles….
Then the donkey is very likely to go into stubborn mode.
We might try bigger sticks and juicier carrots, but the donkey is not for turning. ‘Jackass Management’ no longer works.
Even when it is working as well as it can, the best we get from ‘Jackass Management’ is a situation where the donkey does the bare minimum neccesary to pursue the carrot and avoid the stick.
Yet ‘Jackass Management’ is still incredibly prevalent. Sub-conscious perhaps – but prevalent. Our own self image as ‘an enlightened and person centred manager’ may prevent us from seeing our own jackass tactics. But we cannot escape the mediocrity that our ‘Jackass’ Management creates.
The alternative is a management that is based on a genuine relationship in which both parties self interests are clearly negotiated and mutually pursued. Management in which both parties strive to give us much as they can – because they believe that is in their own self interest – rather than doing as little as they can to get the carrot and avoid the stick.
I call this Progressive Management.
Making the shift from ‘Jackass Management’ to Progressive Management is not difficult. It does take some time, a little technique and a lot of courage. It leads to:
- significant productivity improvements
- increased well being
- reduced workplace stress
- more creativity and innovation
- better employee engagement
- lower costs and
- happier customers.
It requires us to see our job as helping other people to do great work rather than as donkeys to be manipulated to our will.
So why don’t more people make the transition from ‘Jackass’ to ‘Progressive’? Because they are too busy wielding sticks and carrots to take the time.
If you would like to learn how to be a Progressive Manager then please visit www.progressivemanagersnetwork.co.uk
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