Treating Adult as Adults
– You reap what you sow
People are responsible adults at home. Why do we suddenly transform them into adolescents with no freedom when they reach the workplace?
In a Nutshell
If you’re a manager or a C-level executive, take a minute to consider this: Who do you think works for you? An adult who is capable of sound decisions and strong actions? Or, a (wo)man-child who needs hand-holding every step of a process? If you chose the first option, you’re probably wrong. Most corporate cultures have infantilized the workplace so much that there’s hardly any room for innovative risk-taking; boarding-school like conformity to rules; and no freedom to take autonomous decisions that may sometimes end in failure.
Such dumbing down of corporate work life made absolute sense in the Industrial era, when there was negligent tolerance towards human error. When costly consultants reaffirm what you already know to be true; when every frontline conversation between staff and customer are scripted; or, when you already have a set of “best practices” put together by someone else, there’s no need for people to think, experiment or innovate. Production took place like clockwork and everyone was happy.
However, such codes, rulebooks, manuals and best practices prevent people from learning from their mistakes, growing intellectually and adapting to change fast. They make companies trust more in rules than in their people and that’s the death knell for any creativity.
People who go about their jobs mechanically cannot be expected to be engaged with it. For people to really connect with the work they do and be responsible about how they deliver on targets, the workplace needs to be like a laboratory: An unpredictable, yet safe space, where employees feel like they’re on a meaningful quest for knowledge and discovery.