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Less is More with Laura Kinnard

How Much is Too Much?

Last week on The Business News Hour I had a conversation with Brad Dwyer the founder of Bad BossHatchlings a game application that now has millions of users. The theme of our interview was employee productivity and creativity...when the boss is bossing remotely. If you would like to listen to the interview you may do so here.

Brad was out of the country on an extended business trip to Asia...like for six weeks. During that time he was connected, remotely, to his thriving business. He told me it was both a necessity and an experiment: "I was really interested to learn if my team could continue to be productive and creative without me being there to direct every move."

What did he learn?  His staff not only rose to the occasion they were even more productive and creative without him being there.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece that centered on employee engagement and a Gallup Poll that says only 31% of employees are "engaged in their work". While that is bad enough those 69% of disengaged workers costs American business about $11 billion a year.

What causes such high levels of disengagement?  Let me offer one thought.  Recently, while doing an interview for a future broadcast I became aware of a growing company that workers there say management has replaced casual rules with "micro-management". New rules and regulations that, in the words of several employees, has "stifled creativity and productivity" among many of the long term workers.

While none of the rules were egregious they did, in the minds of many employees, chip away at trust and replaced leadership with regulations that one employee said felt "downright Orwellian". To make matters worse the changes came about rapidly over just a few weeks and bosses became less approachable relying more on process.

Two very different experiments in leadership.  Who would you rather work for? 

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