There are many management styles and theories in history and managers are usually open minded in trying them out. Two of the basic management styles we learned back in college were the theory X of management and the theory Y of management; theory X basically states that all employees are bad and don’t want to work so they need to be constantly supervised and disciplined (we put a big X on them). Theory Y states that all employees are good and are willing to work and need guidance and positive reinforcements. Through my somewhat limited years in management, I have tried out both and saw that the best fit depends on the employee, the manager, the organizational culture, and other factors; management is both a science and an art since managers are dealing with different personalities and emotions.
Emotions are being recognized nowadays as an important factor in organizations and emotional intelligence is a fairly recent concept introduced to the world. What I think, in my opinion, is that using emotions to manage is a good tool even though it might seem to some a bit manipulative. Visiting a sick employee in the hospital creates an emotional tie between the employee and the manager; not visiting the same employee will create a negative grudge that will forever stay with the employee and his psychiatrist will be the only one to assist him in letting go. (Let it Go- Frozen soundtrack).
So what other emotions can we use?
Put yourself in this situation: you are sitting at home watching TV and all of a sudden, your spouse walks in and tells you how much he/she appreciates you. Well, that’s sweet. Now picture yourself in the same situation and a complete stranger walks in (let’s assume you kept the door unlocked) and tells you how much he/she loves you. Wait, what? You feel different because of the element of surprise. Interesting how surprise causes an adrenaline flow.
Now back to the business environment. Picture yourself sitting at your desk checking your emails and your boss suddenly announces that you must all pack your things as he is taking you out to the beach to discuss how to best develop your jobs. Wait, What? Why is surprise a good thing? Well, people are habitual creatures; they like to fall back on a specific routine and have things all within their comfort zone. The salesman who was assigned in branch A for the past two years is content, relaxed, happy, and doesn’t want any change. He is probably doing the minimum as he is working on autopilot from the second he stepped out of his home. What can you do? Change his schedule and shift him to another place (employee rotations). He will have to think which route to take, will have to try out different routes on the way to work, will meet different types of people in the new location and will have to, at least, pay attention to the different things around. Now that is beneficial for the organization and even to the employee who will be able to increase his skills and knowledge.
Daily routines kill the development of your organization and change is important. As a manager, instead of managing by walking around, try to manage by surprise. Shake the grounds a little, do things you never did before and ask for things you never even thought of before. Change the format of the forms. Change the layout of the office space. Rotate people around and switch cubicles, buy lunch one day, the crazier you are the more ground you will shake. The more your employees wonder what will go on in their day at work, the more you are likely to have employees who are awake. Don’t scare them, surprise them. Don’t spoil them, make them wonder what’s on your mind.
The best managers are alive with ideas. Put some life back into your dead organization.