This post was originally posted at Employee Evolution Seth Godin claims that Henry Ford’s greatest achievement was not the assembly line, but rather that he understood (and exploited) the power of productivity. Godin argues that Ford understood that paying workers more than the average salary would make them work twice as hard, and pump […]
This post was originally posted at Employee Evolution
that Henry Ford’s greatest achievement was not the assembly line, but rather that he understood (and exploited) the power of productivity. Godin argues that Ford understood that paying workers more than the average salary would make them work twice as hard, and pump out twice as many Model T’s, each one making him wealthier and more powerful.
The strategy worked because people were dying to make more money in Ford’s day, so any assembly line worker could be easily replaced. And when you’re easily replaced, you work much harder.
But they didn’t work harder because they wanted to, or because they had an inner drive to succeed. Instead, they worked harder because they were terrified of losing their jobs. Ford created the ultimate workplace culture of obedience and fear.
Which begs the question, “What happens when we start using our heads, not our hands, when our collars change from blue to white?”
The answer is that fear no longer works and hands-on-management is no longer optional. When we use our minds rather than hands, there are no widgets to produce; there are no cars to build, but there still must be results.
Fear worked in Henry Ford’s day. People knew they would be fired if they didn’t produce, so they worked harder. But fear does not work anymore because instead of working harder and pumping out more products, the fear of being let go for doing the wrong thing will cause people to sit back and do nothing.
Managers correctly expect employees to have initiative and get things done. But it’s a two-way street. Employees should expect managers to take initiative to properly train and manage them. When I read articles bashing , I can’t help but question the manager’s effectiveness at his job.
There will always be way too much “non managerial” work to do and important milestones to hit. But the good managers, the managers who don’t complain about their employees, are the ones who manage first, and work second. These managers know that if people know what’s expected of them, they won’t be scared to take action. Fear used to drive results, but in today’s workplace it’s nothing but a productivity killer.
Ryan Healy is the COO/Co-Founder of Brazen Careerist and regularly writes and speaks on all things Gen Y, and Entrepreneurship