Poetic Leadership

At a conference we facilitated recently, the CEO quoted this insightful poem by Julia O’Callaghan about two different styles of management:

Read Julia O’Callaghan's insightful poem on types of leadership

Managing the Common Herd

Theory X: People are naturally lazy, they come in late, leave early, feign illness.
When they sit at their desks, it’s ten to one they’re yakking to colleagues on the subject of who qualifies as a gorgeous hunk. They’re coating their lips and nails with slop, a magazine open to ‘What your nails say about you’ or ‘Ten exercises to keep your bottom in tip form’ under this year’s annual report.
These people need punishment; they require stern warnings and threats – don’t be a coward, don’t be intimidated by a batting eyelash.

Stand firm: a few tears, a Mars Bar, several glasses of Cider with her pals tonight and you’ll be just the same old rat-bag, mealy-mouthed, small minded tyrant you were before you docked her fifteen minutes pay for insubordination. Never let these con artists get the better of you!

Theory Y: Staff need encouragement.
Give them a little responsibility and watch their eager faces lighting up. Let them know their input is important. Be democratic – allow all of them their two cents worth of gripes. If eight out of twelve of them prefer green garbage cans to black ones under their desks, be generous – the dividends of productivity will be reaped with compound interest. Offer incentives; show them it’s to their OWN advantage to meet targets. Don’t talk down to your employees.

Make staff believe that they have valid and innovative ideas and that not only are you interested, but that you will act upon them. Remember, they’re human too!

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One Response to “Poetic Leadership”

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  1. Lynn Ferguson-Pinet says:

    Definately agree that Theory Y will deliver much more dividents, I would add that you need to look at the specific motivations of each individual. Key for everyone is that they are being heard, really listened to. Going through the motions of hearing what peole have to say doesn’t really work, taking action or letting them know why you can’t take the action is what matters.


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