Understanding Your Leadership Lens and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy


Photo courtesy of TheMotionMachine.com.

In order to discover how you can increase your effectiveness as a leader and reach your potential, you must understand that your beliefs and values drive your behavior and thus become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Our behavioral practices are an outgrowth of our personal theories and assumptions about the basic nature of people at work. Based on this learned – and sometimes unconsciously referenced – belief system, we develop general guiding principles which result in the specific behaviors, practices, policies, and procedures that define our particular management style.

This module – entitled Management Values – is the first in a series I like to use in my role as a corporate coach and growth catalyst.

achievable_logo_white_on_blueAs a professor in the MIT Sloan School of Management in the 1960s, Douglas McGregor developed Theory X and Theory Y, which describe two contrasting models of workforce motivation applied by leaders.

Theory X assumes that the average human being has an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if he or she can. Because of their dislike for work, most people must be controlled or threatened before they work hard. These people prefer to be directed and don’t like responsibility.

Such beliefs plant the seeds of tough management, as they do not recognize that people need more than financial motivation. People need the opportunity to fulfill themselves.

Theory Y, meanwhile, assumes that employees are self-motivated and creative. It takes the approach that people seek and accept responsibility and do not need much direction. They consider work as a natural part of life and solve work problems imaginatively.

In organizations managed by Y-type leaders, workers at the lower levels are involved in decision-making and have more responsibility.

What type of leader are you, and how does that influence the decisions you make?

Although Theory X has its applications, Theory Y is more suited to professional services. Employees of these organizations will feel as if they have more skin in the game. Treating workers as responsible and valuable to the big picture addresses their need for fulfillment.

I enjoy using this model with my clients because it not only helps them recognize their personal beliefs about people and work, but it helps them understand the impact these beliefs have in the workplace.


Mike500-210x300Michael Gidlewski is President of West Chester-based Achievement Unlimited, as well as a growth catalyst and motivational speaker. He works with motivated business owners and entrepreneurs to clearly define the elements of what they dearly want their lives to look like, then helps them connect all the moving parts that make up those visions to consistent action and habits. Michael can be reach at 610-793-6609 or via e-mail at michael@achievable.com.

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