Any committee is only as good as the most knowledgeable, determined and vigorous person on it. There must be somebody who provides the flame.
Lady Bird Johnson
Elisa is a certified genius. She holds several college degrees (engineering, philosophy, etc.). Shes a team leader in a small organization. She routinely talks down to her staff. Elisa, however, feels that her staff appreciates her wisdom. Elisa is wrong. Her ego has made her the enemy of many employees. Elisa doesnt understand why new employees are not sent to her organization.
Does Elisa sound like one of your co-workers? Does she sound like you? Dont make the mistake of placing your technology before your people. If you should do so, expect to fail sooner or later. Lets take another history lesson. Follow me to the founder of the scientific movementMr. Frederick Taylor. Mr. Taylor was a brilliant consultant, but he was ignored by the key decision-makers in his time. How could that have happened? This is the question that Taylor probably asked himself before his death. Before the scientific management approach, American factories were simply inefficient and uncooperative in nature. Factories paid laborers based on output. Managers had no work performance standards for workers. Taylors philosophy provided appropriate work performance standards and wages for labor. Whats the problem with Mr. Taylor, then?
Lets explore Taylors leadership character. Wren and Greenwood, authors of Management Innovators, admit Taylor possibly wasnt the best salesman for his philosophy. Taylor was often arrogant, somewhat caustic, and inflexible about implementing his ideas. He was a well-known curser and often showcased it on the wrong occasions. Some would argue that his contributions outweigh his character flaws. This is true if you operate on a worldview, not a practical perspective. His Quaker-Puritan background couldnt hide the inner man. His personality didnt endear him with his clients. Despite his wealth and fame, the last five years of his life were hard. On March 21, 1915, Taylor died with unfulfilled dreams.
Finally, although Taylors contributions are significant, he missed the mark of modeling the way. Leaders need a good attitude with followers. Dont treat followers as your inferiors. As a matter of fact, leaders should treat everyone with dignity. Leave your arrogance at home. Mr. Taylor did not. Grow your relationships. Start today!
Wren, D. (2005). The Evolution of Management Thought. Hooboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Wren, D. & Greenwood, R. (2005). Management Innovators. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
© 2006 by Daryl D. Green