We had invited a niece for dinner. She works for a famous but struggling information technology company.
Arriving rather late, she explained, "Actually my work got done quite a long while ago but we just hang around because that is our company culture. They say that it is the responsibility of employees to hang around for longer periods at the workplace on their own time."
Could it be insecure managers and leaders, or employers trying to extract the maximum from their people for what they pay them, that cause such a culture to be imposed. Such behaviour is mostly counterproductive as I learnt.
I asked her what she felt about having to work an extra 2 to 3 hours of her time?
She said, "It is unfair and stupid. Most people have no inspiration, are mostly demotivated, in fact they are anti organisational and often work against the organisation's interest, by doing the minimal amount of work, slowing things down, not pointing out problems or weaknesses, and not attentive to customer's needs and problems."
She then added, "Uncle there is no dialogue with management. They never try to understand our problems and how we can contribute. They are concerned, but they just do more of the same thing expecting different results. Can you imagine this? To add insult to injury, they have appointed a very senior person retired from the army to keep an eye and spy on employees and their own colleagues. What a disgraceful waste of money and rank? They would be better off distributing that money to other employees who add value to the organisation rather than having a glorified policeman."
She added, "The irony of it is the gentleman sleeps on the job, often watches movies on his computer and himself always arrives late to work and leaves early. "
Most people know that 'kicking butt', has limited benefits, then why do they indulge in it? Because it nourishes the inferior ego to overpower and browbeat juniors.
Slave driving may be workable for driving physical labour and tapping brawn, but it is totally unproductive when dealing with knowledge workers.
By force you may capture the bodies of employees and your children, but you can never capture their hearts and minds.
Commitment and motivation blossom easily in open organisations where people are respected and challenged to excel. Discipline is important but it has to be cultivated, if it is imposed too heavily it acts like a spring, the moment pressure is removed it jumps back to original situation.
Thus classrooms and workspaces are now physically occupied, but intellectually and emotionally empty.