“Management’s traditional assumption is that employees are recalcitrant and irresponsible. As a result, they design both equipment technologies and organizational technologies to ensure compliance, minimize employees’ scope of discretion, and reduce their reliance on employees’ skills. And management should then not be surprised when employees respond by apathy and antagonism — a result which in turn comforts management in their initial assumption that employees are recalcitrant and irresponsible.”
— Paul Simon Adler (emphasis mine)
(This is such a great reminder. When we approach people as jerks (or etc), we very much tend to get jerks back. We are leaving them no other avenues for expression. And then when we, surprise surprise, get jerk back we get that little rush because, by gosh we were right, and thus we totally get to justify our initial jerk interaction.
It is well worthy to be mindful of this downward spiral, not only in the field of business* but everywhere else in our lives as well: friends, family members, our children, people on our sports teams, hobby acquaintances, supermarket clerks, people at the DMV… and even beyond to those of differing groups, views, upbringings, social status, origins, life experiences… The list goes forever on. No matter whom, it remains that when we relate to another or a group of others as a particular way, that’s what tends to come back to us.
Our listening is incredibly powerful. When we listen to people as small, we get just that. When we choose to listen to someone from and as an empowering place, the possibilities for great things opens wide.)
* The quote itself comes from a research paper looking into the NUMI plant, which was a closed GM plant that was re-opened as a so-called venture with Toyota, although really it more or less was a case of having Toyota run the joint. Prior to shutdown, the plant had been a poor performer, with lots of employee trouble. Upon re-opening, nearly all the employees were re-hires. Under Toyota’s management style (which involved a very different “management vs worker” dynamic), the plant’s productivity, quality, and profit rose tremendously, employee turnover and sick days dropped, and worker satisfaction reached towards the nineties.