Leadership by fear means you do not trust your employees by Tommy Weir at The National on 10 November 2013

Sometimes your personal thoughts can lend themselves to significant insight into a perspective much broader than the situation that you are facing.  In this article, the author has an “aha” moment when he realizes that telling his child to come home by 11PM “or else” is using the fear of punishment to shape behaviour.  This leads to a dialog on the theories of motivation by Douglas McGregor.

A quick recap on McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y:

  • Theory X – people are lazy, will avoid work, and need to be coerced into taking desired action
  • Theory Y – People are ambitious, self-motivated and have self-control – just point them in the right direction and let them go!

The author saw the “or else” aspect of parenting as being centred on Theory X .  Fair enough.  What the article doesn’t go on to discuss is what a Theory Y approach would have been.  So, you get to finish the story – what would a Theory Y approach have looked like?

(If you’re reading this far,  you get bonus points and information.  In addition to Douglas McGreggor’s X and Y theories, there is William Ouchi’s Theory Z (Japanese Management style)  and Abraham Maslaow’s Theory Z).

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