Monday, February 20, 2012

"Formal hierarchy is a declining construct"

-- Rosabeth Moss Kanter

The new college graduates in managerial positions with whom I've met recently are interested in shared leadership, concensus-building, and cultures that support employee development. They use terms such as "human potential", "shared meaning", and "social good." And they're not smirking when they use them.

In my earliest experiences in management, I worked for companies that would have thought these terms laughable. We expected managers to stay overnight Saturday so that we could save money on their airfare -- even though these managers would have to fly out later Sunday to get to their destination in time for a Monday morning meeting -- leaving them only a few hours on Sunday with their families. We expected everyone to work a minimum of 10 hours each day; anything less would have been seen as weak and uncommitted. Anyone gutsy enough to make a decision that unfortunately went wrong would be roundly criticized in front of his peers.

These new graduates are creating a whole new world. I can't wait to work for them.

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