A hectic schedule has kept us from blogging, and we’re happy to get back to it again. We’ve set up alerts to topics we find relevant and interesting, and they often provide inspiration for this venue. Much of what we read, packaged as “advice for leadership”, reinforces our belief that too many organizations still rely on manipulation and parent-child conversations as a strategy for managing people at work. The themes, so familiar that people don’t even stop to think about them any more, center on:

√     How to do a better job building employee morale

√     Methods of communicating ideas so it will be easier to hold people accountable

√     How to use employee surveys to gauge how the rank-and-file feel about management and the business. 

In our point of view, this thinking is fraught with problems. Leaders and managers, for example, can’t “build” morale unless individuals make a choice to be motivated. Finding ways to hold others accountable is a myth that wastes an organization’s time and energy and focuses on compliance rather than commitment. Employee attitude and opinion surveys are a statement that management and employees can’t tell each other the truth face-to-face. And surveys also send a message that employees are off the hook because  managers are responsible for fixing problems.

Worth checking out are two blogs citing specific companies engaging in shop floor self-management (Ferragamo USA, Inc.) and Zappos.com where they conduct “culturefit” interviews as well as interviews for technical skills. The other one is a blog on retaining employees by focusing on human connection, employee growth and ethical conduct.

We feel encouraged to see that in a business world focused on compliance, companies are devoting energy to create cultures based on contribution, choosing to be accountable and honorable conduct.