Thursday, October 16, 2008

VYSW: Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves!


Vent Your Spleen Wednesday

Many companies think that they can improve matters by making their employees afraid; specifically by firing people and then pointing out that there are still more people left that they can remove.

This does not make a whole lot of sense to me because I cannot stay scared indefinitely. When I'm scared, my heart beats, I sweat, etc. but only for a little bit. The more I'm exposed to the cause of the fear, the less scary it gets. When it comes in the form of a company's constant attempts at intimidation, it ends up fading into the background for me. In my experience, the people around me rarely stay scared either.

I've also seen fear sabotage productivity. When I personally feel threatened, I am less inclined to help people around me. At one place I saw a group that was relatively productive systematically destroyed by its less productive brethren. I've heard coworkers remark that you always want a bit of "deadwood" in your group so that, when the yearly "Christmas Bonus" comes around, you have someone that is more likely to get the axe then you are.

Trying to scare people into working harder doesn't strike me as a very good idea. But as the creator of the Dilbert comic strip remarked, if nature ran on the same principals as business, you'd see a bunch of mountain gorillas being led by an "alpha" squirrel. And mind you, it wouldn't be the most skilled squirrel…it would be the one that nobody else wanted to hang with.

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