What you know about leadership is already obsolete

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REY ELBO

IF economists, psychologists and social scientists insist that money can’t buy happiness, then why do lawyers, government bureaucrats, and politicians claim otherwise? That’s because it’s more comfortable for the latter to cry inside their mansions and luxury vehicles than in jail. Or is it?

When I was a child, I was told by my prudent parents that money was not everything. Why not? That’s because we subsisted every day without the luxury of a television set and a refrigerator, but entertained ourselves by playing chess, scrabble and domino, and ate a lot of real, nutritious food.

Fast forward. When I was in the corporate world managing human resources and total quality departments, alternatively if not simultaneously, I often told our workers – with the same success formula that I’ve learned from my parents: Money is not everything. If money were everything, then it would only be a matter of time before you switched to another employer who could give you a better pay-and-perks deal, and then it would be too late for you to realize you’ve made a bad decision.

“I’ve proven it myself when I conducted a series of exit interviews with more than 1,500 resigned workers in the past. High pay was only number three out of the top three reasons often mentioned, with toxic bosses and a lack of challenging tasks as numbers one and two, respectively. They leave bad bosses, not the good companies that employ them.”


This brings us to review the validity of the success formula of many CEOs in today’s modern workplace, particularly on how to manage the so-called millennial workers. Our $6-million dollar question is repeated here:

What is the modern way for CEOs to manage their workers? In the United States, where there are more aggressive, conceited and self-focused young workers – the basic characteristics of millennials, Clorox Company top honcho Benno Dorer, who was awarded as the 2017 highest rated CEO for large companies by Glassdoor, offers a current perspective on “masterclass leadership.”

Dorer told Inc.’s author-contributor John Eades, who is also the CEO of LearnLoft, an organization focused on improving the modern management professionals: Clorox has “a leadership model that envisions the future and then we rally people around that future. I engage with my people in the ‘when’ but I leave it up to them on ‘how’ they accomplish what we want to accomplish.

“I try to empower people to do what they do best and stay out of their way. We always look at ourselves as a people company. Therefore, ideas need to come from the lunch room, not the boardroom. That’s exactly the type of environment we want to create.” This was confirmed by Clorox’s employees who summarize Dorer’s focus on three major areas: professional development, transparency and vision for the company.

Award organizer Glassdoor, an online employment service for job seekers, claims that Dorer got a 99 percent approval rating from his employees who participated in the survey, beating Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who was listed as number 10 in the list of 100 companies with at least 1,000 employees each.

Eades cites Dorer’s leadership success formula as something “about serving and empowering others” and recommends the following strategies to CEOs: One, be humble, as humility is an attractive trait of a leader. Two, surround yourself with great people and leave them alone. In other words, don’t choke them with close supervision.

Three, be purpose-driven and not money-driven. If the only reason why you’re coming to work every day is about money, then that would not be sustainable in the long term. And lastly, be a contributor to one’s career success, as being a leader means you have to create more leaders as well.

Are these ideas new? Not exactly. Employee empowerment and engagement has been around since the time the much-vaunted Toyota Production System was established and refined by Taiichi Ohno and Eiji Toyoda, sometime between 1948 and 1975. As you probably know, TPS is banking on its “respect for people” mantra, along with continuous improvement and other related factors.

But what has become an enduring piece of management advice is the belief of Dorer that he doesn’t care how much time his employees spend in the office, as long as they produce concrete and tangible results. You can come in whatever time you like because you’re not being measured by the time you’re spending in the office but your actual results.

This means that the Perfect Attendance Award is a dead and an obsolete management strategy. I mean, if you’re still asking employees to produce a medical certificate even for their one-day sick leave or if you’re deducting the pay of tardy employees then, one thing is sure — you’re obsolete, if not part of the bigger problem.

Rey Elbo is a business consultant specializing in human resources and total quality management as a fused interest. Send feedback to elbonomics@gmail.com or follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter for his random management thoughts on Elbonomics.

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