In the 1960s, Douglas McGregor at the MIT Sloan School of Management wrote about Theory X and Theory Y management. According to Theory X, people are inherently lazy and need to be driven or externally motivated. According to Theory Y, people inherently want to do work and simply need to be inspired to do so. So, on the one hand, you have people who need to be pushed to do work. And on the other hand, you have people who intrinsically want to work and therefore, need to be led to do work.
The type of leader that we are depends on whether we subscribe to Theory X or Theory Y. Are the people under your employ inherently lazy or are the people under your employ inherently industrious? If you believe in Theory X, then you will drive your people, and when faced with any challenges, wonder why they are such a lazy bunch. If you believe in Theory Y, you will seek to inspire your people, and when faced with obstacles, wonder what is causing the anomaly – and how you can fix it so that your people’s natural tendency to do work will be unhindered. So, what you believe plays a big role in what you actually end up doing.
There was a social experiment where a bunch of teachers were given classes of students who were of mixed academic performance. One set of teachers were told that they were given the slow class, and one set of teachers were told that they were given a gifted class; when in fact, both sets of classes were made up of students of mixed academic performance. And what happened at the end of the experiment is that the teachers who were told that they had slow students, produced a class full of low academic results. Whereas, the teachers who were told that they had been given a class of gifted students, produced a class full of high academic results.
So, if you are surrounded by people who are lazy and incompetent and constantly need to be driven, examine what’s in your head. If you are surrounded by a bunch of gifted, inspired, motivated people, I can bet that…