Companies have long wanted to be able to control the performance of their employees. It would be mind blowing if we can eliminate the uncertainty and inconsistency caused by the human factor. If humans were as routinary as machines, managing would be a much easier task. This mentality has often resulted in a lack of trust between management and employees.
Management’s Obsession over Control
In seek of control over the uncertainties and inconsistencies, we created hierarchies, systems, and protocols. We built controlled environments to achieve desired outcomes by forecasting human behaviors based on our limited knowledge of human psychology. Unknowingly, our focus on controlling to achieve the desired results made us assume the worst of the employees.
Due to the lack of trust towards the employees, we designed extensive check and control mechanisms to monitor them, and they are well aware of it. These mechanisms faced resistance especially from the younger generations who are also usually the ones being monitored. Despite the fact that research has shown the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of these mechanisms, traditional management insists its grip over their employees.
The lack of trust between management and employees has resulted in lesser employee’s autonomy. Autonomy allows employees to decide the best course of action in the face of complexities in work. Meanwhile, it also represents the shortening of a decision-making process, allowing faster response towards unforeseen circumstances. However, autonomy is a by-product of trust, which is contrary to what traditional management knows.
This lack of trust between management and employees has also resulted in employees becoming a means to an end and not an end in itself. Therefore, employees lose their motivation to work, and they stopped caring and stopped taking responsibilities for the work.
Fortunately, the 21st-century style of management places a higher emphasis on motivation than control. It focuses on building trust in the workplace while also institutionalizing accountabilities and responsibilities within the organization. I believe it’s as the saying goes, “Why hire someone whom you can’t trust?”.