The concept of boss dates back to the Industrial Revolution when work was mechanical and labor-intensive. A supervisor was required to track the work progress and ensure that work was completed without glitches. The workers were focused on meeting their daily needs and paid a paltry sum of money for the routine work.
Worker’s motivation was only to feed their families. There was no concept of career growth or work satisfaction back then. Workers were compensated based on output they produced.
The supervising practices and the idea of bosses have been prevalent ever since. Regulating employees with restrictions like working hours and dress code is pervasive in various service industries. The Industrial era mindset of restrictions and appraisals have unfortunately lingered on.
The managers in modern corporations are synonymous with erstwhile supervisors, especially when they don’t contribute to the cognitive assignments. The bosses are ineffective when their contributions are irrelevant and outdated to the business.
Managers are worthy of employee’s respect when they are equally capable of solving the problems their subordinates are working on.
The irrelevance of bosses is pretty evident in the Software Industry. With the advent of Automation and Agile methodologies of Software Development, the People/Process managers are left with little to supervise.
The rise of project management tools like JIRA has led to the workflow automation and user stories are monitored via the tools.
The lack of motivation among employees costs corporations thousands of dollars each year. The expenses on employee training & motivation cuts-in the large pie of the company’s annual budget.
The concept of motivating employees used to be simpler earlier. Corporations would emphasize higher remuneration for more productive employees. Employees would get motivated by the rise in compensation.
The carrot and stick approach to motivation doesn’t work any longer. Money alone can not improve performance especially when work involves complex creative thinking.
If the task requires higher-order thinking and creativity, the motivation through mere higher wages results in lower performance.
Intrinsic motivation is one of the key factors for productivity. If employees aren’t inherently motivated on the assigned task, they can’t be forced to perform true to their potential.
The support of external factors like money or promotion doesn’t guarantee the corresponding outcomes.
This holds true especially when corporations are operating in the Knowledge Economy. Modern organization’s growth is largely based on their intellectual property.
Top blue-chip companies foster an innovation culture, encourage employees to file publications and patents to stay on the top of the game.
In addition to innovation ecosystem, these companies heavily invest in employee’s satisfaction for autonomy over choices of work.
For instance, companies like Microsoft and Google have set up the work culture where employees are given half a day off every week to work on the projects of their choices. These companies encourage employees to work on side projects.
Employees thrive on the challenges that involve analysis intensive, decision-making, and rigorous thinking tasks. The opportunity for employees to express their potential coupled with authority in decision making manifests in higher business output.
Modern corporations focus on three factors to increase performance and satisfaction:
Autonomy – Autonomy refers to the desire to be self-directed. It promotes engagement over compliance. Employees make progress when given choice over how to do things and receive meaningful feedback.
Finding autonomy in work results in higher job satisfaction and better job performance. Corporations need to foster autonomy by giving people control over deciding what to work on, how to do it, and when to do it.
Mastery – Mastery is the process of getting better at what you do. It is a strong desire to get better at skills. It’s about honing the craft. Mastery provides a sense of progress, not only in work but in capabilities that contribute to the inner drive.
Employers can try to find the right balance between the capabilities of an employee and the complexity of the task. It should not be too complex to complete the task or too easy to get bored.
Employees get motivated when required training is imparted on new skill-sets and they witness their capabilities being improved. The sense of overall growth leads to higher job satisfaction and significant results.
Purpose – Purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning. Employees must find meaning and purpose in the work. Large corporations invest heavily to create the company culture where an employee can associate with the company’s objectives.
Employees with purpose are motivated to pursue complex problems. Purpose drives you to transcend boundaries and limitations.
With the rise of servant leadership, the idea of bosses and centralization of authority have become irrelevant today.
The servant leaders prioritize the team’s growth over personal growth. Servant leaders begin with a desire to serve employees first, which in turn serves the organization at large.
The modern corporations don’t require bosses to supervise the talents to derive the desired business outcome. Companies need leaders who can motivate employees to unlock their potential. Employees need mentors, not bosses who can align an employee’s sense of purpose with the company mission !!