Are You a Child or Peer?

Accountability Contribution Organizational culture


Key Point: Have you ever had a boss who just treated you like you were an inferior and expendable commodity? How did it feel? Are you treated with respect as a peer or does your boss treat you like a child? Weak leaders see their employees as inferior “subordinates” who really can’t be trusted. These “parent” bosses believe most workers need to be watched carefully because they might be ripping the company off. They have all kinds of subtle or blatantly obvious systems and policies to catch people doing the wrong things. The by-product of this approach is often a culture where employees learn how to play the game. They quickly find ways to expend energy on making sure “superiors” see them busy, doing exactly what they’re told and/or covering their behinds. So, are you a child or peer?

You would think that in 2012 all associates would be treated as peers. Of course we all have bosses and there is a hierarchy of authority but great leaders expect EVERY person to be a valued contributor and treat them that way. When a leader inspires an associate by creating an environment of purpose, expected excellence and contribution, most of us rise to the occasion BECAUSE we want to belong and be a valued “player.” When treated with respect as a valued colleague most of us embrace self-accountability and are motivated to have a positive impact.

Character Moves:

  1.  Treating associates at every level as a vital person in the organization chain is key to making the workplace great. If not, why would they be there?
  2.  Really engage people’s thinking and listen. If you’re a boss and spending way more time telling versus asking; you are likely out of balance and patronizing. As the boss your job is to optimize the contribution and skills of all and not to be the fountain of all brilliance and wisdom. If people start agreeing with every thing you say… That is a danger sign that you’re a “mom or dad,” more than a leader.
  3.  Recognize that valued contribution is more important than punching the time clock. The most important thing is not whether someone’s car is the first or last in the parking lot. What’s more important is the value provided in exchange for total compensation. Clock watching management has no value. If someone is not showing up when and where they’re needed, expectations are not clear or the person does not have the right mindset.
  4.  Challenge the dumb things we do to continue the parent-child relationship we have institutionalized in organizations. Expect self-accountability… Expect mutual awesomeness.

Peers in The Triangle,