The tag line Iâ€™ve been throwing around recently is that â€œI help make the business case for doing the right thing.â€ For the most part, my righteous indignation centers around how technology workers (the working caste) are treated by their executives (the management caste). Literally everywhere Iâ€™ve worked, there has always been someone that managed his/her staff out of fear, rather than service (reference authors Ken Blanchard, John Maxwell). What Iâ€™m beginning to see, is that itâ€™s not just in white-collar work that this happens. I just read Barbara Ehrenreichâ€™s â€œNickel and Dimedâ€ about low-wage workers, and the pattern is there too. In her book, managers generally discourage “talking to each other”, and instead encourage you to “look busy”. It’s based out of the fear that workers are generally out to cheat their bosses. But my question is, why would you hire anyone that would be out to cheat you? OK, I admit that in the so-called “low-wage worker shortage”, you can’t turn-down an application because he isn’t all he can be. But in the much lauded field of knowledge-workers, why do we still see the same crunch? I know you can’t grow as fast when you’re too discriminating with your head-coutn, but why comprimise on the trust factor in the name of growth? If knowlege-work is the product of skill X creativity X environment X attitude, then consider the math when attitude=0. No matter how much you train them, how much you incentivize, you can’t control someone else’s attitude. So don’t even bother trying to.
My plea to IT managers out there: don’t be that guy. Don’t be the guy that hires the wrong people, so that you have to rule out of fear. That is false leadership. Authentic leadership is creating a mission, an environment that appeals to people, and then recruiting only those people that WANT to achieve the mission…even at a lower salary.