Wednesday, July 23, 2014

No Tethers for Your Staff

From the same people who brought you "I'd rather create a kick-ass half than a half-assed whole" bring you this wonderful quote about letting people work remotely:
"People have an amazing ability to live down to low expectations. If you run your ship with the conviction that everyone's a slacker, your employees will put all their ingenuity into proving you right. If you view those who work under you as capable adults who will push themselves to excel even when you're not breathing down their necks, they'll delight you in return."
This is from their recent book Remote.

I'm always shocked when I work with managers who propose certain policies to stop adverse behavior. They presume the worst in people even decades after we learned about Theories Y and X. Or they have a few bad apples and they presume that everyone else will do the same unless leashed.

Remove the tethers. Put people working in their strengths and they'll enjoy working. They'll probably give you more than you expect if you let them. For years I combated the call for mandatory overtime, because it corralled people and didn't allow them to decide how much overtime they could or would give us. As a result, we got more than the levels we would have gotten if we'd dictated it. I also ask people what their 'zone' is--what activities are they doing when time zips by because they're enjoying the work so much. And conversely, I ask about their what activities are they doing when time drags. If you put people in their zones, you don't need to babysit them, which is one of the points the authors make when they argue that people can work remotely. If not, and you need to babysit them, then either you're not a good manager/leader or you're hiring the wrong people.

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