What do you think of my drawing


"If I am completely honest and speak openly - I think my colleague is stinking lazy." In a leadership training session, for example, one participant rumbled, we talked about empowerment and autonomous teams, among other things. "What do you know about your colleague?" "Nothing, except that he always goes home on time." "How does he live?" "I think he's in a relationship." "What moves him?" "No idea." "What are his hobbies?" "I don't know, I've actually never really spoken to him before."

We reap what we sow. What we think about people will be confirmed: an excursion into management theory, which is based on two opposing images of people.

Image of man - theory X versus theory Y: origin

Theories X and Y are management theories or leadership philosophies that represent two completely different images of people. Douglas McGregor first coined Theory X in 1960 during his professorship at MIT in his book The Human Side of Enterprise and saw in it an implicit basis of traditional hierarchical management. However, McGregor rejected Theory X and preferred the alternative of Theory Y that he proposed.

Depending on what image of man you are starting from: you get what you expect.

The application of theories X and Y can very well be viewed as self-fulfilling prophecies. The application of Theory X requires strict guidelines to be imposed on the employees and to be monitored. In most cases, this leads to passive work behavior, which in turn leads to a low level of responsibility and commitment. The actual work behavior of the employees thus corresponds to the assumptions of theory X. This also applies analogously to theory Y. My drawing shows you this vicious circle.

As a manager, it makes sense first of all to reflect on what I actually think about others or to look at my own inner attitude - according to Prof. Dr. Friedemann Schulz von Thun means: "If you want to be a good leader, then look inside yourself."

Which statements are right for you?

  • My employees should please do their job (X)
  • I don't think my employees can get along without me (X)
  • I present the ideas of my employees, after all, I'm the boss (X)
  • I like a more cooperative or participative management style and am employee and goal-oriented (Y)
  • I am a supervisor, my employees need instructions and control is important to me (X)
  • I like to delegate tasks, competence and responsibility (Y)
  • I believe control, instruction, reporting are important (X)
  • Decentralization of decisions, integration of goals are important to me (Y)
  • Delegation of responsibility and group decisions (participation) are in the foreground for me (Y)
  • I believe the team will make much better decisions if I don't intervene (Y)

By the way: In the practical example mentioned above, we then talked about the theory X and Y. An AHA experience for the participants: Silence in the room, heavy breathing and murmuring and the realization, yes, it's true, I think X and I want to change that. In this case it was the establishment of contact and genuine interest in the colleague.

Reflection: what do you think of others? Be honest!

Visualization: © BYP | Tatjana Güntensperger
Source: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Y-Theorie
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