1. Power is not the same as force – There’s a real difference between power and force but it’s widely misunderstood. Consequently, when times get tough, in an effort to get more productivity with fewer players, most managers simply try to push their teams ever harder. It’s kind of like trying to break your dog of a bad habit by using a whip – it’ll work for a while but at some stage the law of diminishing returns kicks in. And you may end up getting bitten in the butt.
People appreciate being asked for their advice. Especially if the manager is sincere about using it. Team members will give power to the boss if she or he doesn’t use it against them. And the boss will get much more done he’s are on the employee’s side than would be the case by simply trying to force his decisions downward.
2. You can tell the quality of an organization by those who are leaving it – not those who are joining it. Even in difficult situations, good managers can recruit and hire high-quality players to boost the performance of their team through the use of money or other perks. This can mislead the manager into thinking all is well (or at least that things will get better) with the new players on board.
In an environment where the contribution of everyone is paramount, watch carefully to see who is leaving on her own volition. Sick companies have a way of causing the good players to bail out even if they’ve been told they’re being kept on during downsizing or difficult times. The result is that the new players who are recruited end up joining a team of losers and don’t make the hoped-for contribution.
The outlook for business in the flattening world of competition is that it’s going to be tougher. More highly educated managers from other countries are competing for the same customers and opportunities everywhere. The truly great managers will succeed and the rest, still using old and obsolete management approaches, will fail sooner than later.