Articles

July 2022 – Question Of The Month

July 25, 2022 - By Wendy Lambourne, Director, MA Industrial and Organisation Psychology, Registered Psychologist with SA Medical & Dental Council

Question: What determines the size of the anti-management population in any organization?

 Answer: In any community of employees there will always be two populations: one which is anti-management and another which is pro-management. The two populations will always exist but the size of the positive group, and hence the degree to which there is overall trust in management, will be directly determined by the perceived intent of the leader(s) of the community.

The consistent finding of Legitimate Leadership research is that trust varies. In a retail bank, for example, trust levels in one branch were found to be dramatically different from a branch around the corner. Similarly, in a hospital, trust was seen to differ from ward to ward purely as a function of the ward sister’s relationship with nursing staff.

Intent is about whose interests in the relationship are believed to be being served. When managers are perceived to be pursuing their own interests, to only be in the relationship to get something out of their people, trust in them will be low. Only when managers are there to give to or serve their people, will their staff be willing to give to them – because they trust that management has their best interests at heart.

What those in authority have to give to their people, what earns them trust, is not money. Across the world, from an illiterate miner shovelling rock several kilometres underground to the CEO of one of the biggest cell phone companies in Thailand, our experience shows that what management needs to give distils down to only two drops of essence.

Firstly, managers have to have a genuine concern for those in their charge. They have to care for their people as human beings – not as human resources which help their bottom line to grow. Secondly, they have to enable their people to realise the very best in themselves.

The price to be paid before employees will be truly willing to deliver on command is therefore not money; it is care and growth. This is what makes the power which is exercised by those in authority legitimate. When the price of power is not paid, people become resistant, no matter how much they are paid.

Wendy Lambourne
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