Sunday, November 13, 2005

Book Review: Don’t do, Delegate by James M. Jenks and John M. Kelly

I picked this book up at a garage sale for about $.45. I’m reporting on it not so much because I thought it was a good book as to share that one nugget, that ‘ah-hah’ moment that it provided, an insightful observation about motivation of people. My reasoning for reading such a book was an insight made by a manager who said I was stricken a year ago with ‘super stage II’ syndrome. Basically, delegating a bunch of tasks to folks who were given deadlines and deliverables. Then, when those deadlines were slipping, inserting myself to catch them up and make them on time. He pointed out that this is not how delegation is done and that I needed to do less of this and suggested I learn (among other things) some alternative coaching styles to improve myself in this area (one thing is simply acceptance: you are given increasing responsibility because you have demonstrated mastery of the previous challenging skill set, its time to help others achieve similarly and it will take time and patience). In addition to the coaching styles, he nudged that it would be best I strengthen my delegation skills. At any rate, here is the book highlight, in abbreviated form:

on motivating:

managers think subordinates are motivated by (in order): good wages and job security. subordinates actually care about “full appreciation of work done with a “feeling of being in on things” second. in other words, managers do not understand what motivates their employees. According to the famous psychologist Maslow we can sort the motivations of people:

1. bodily needs
2. safety
3. belonging
4. esteem
5. self actualization

Supervisors mistakenly think the lower needs are important to their subordinates (wage levels and job security address bodily needs and safety). workers feel that higher areas are more important. Good delegation relies on motivating around these higher needs.

Next, there are two examples given. Mgr. A: “Corporate wants another Q.C. report. I don’t know why. You’ll have to go around and note procedures used on all products and report” Mgr. B. says “our customer is especially interested in quality. we want to have a reputation of high quality. What I think we can do here is find ways to improve quality control by reviewing the current procedures.

what’s the difference? Mgr. A appeals to neither belonging nor achievement. Its ‘yet another order from corporate.’ He doesn’t emphasize the results that the subordinate is to achieve but starts right off on the method. The only motivation is the fear of a reprimand.

Mgr. b, on the other hand, presents the same assignment in a different light. First, he lets the subordinate know why the achievement is important. he put it in the context of the mutual efforts of everyone in the company and the status that results from achieving an important objective. Also, one can feel pride from participating in the teamwork of the firm.

Not a recommended book, but the highlight above is a useful observation and one to put into life's tool chest.

1/5 stars.

1 comment:

kim said...

First off, that former manager must have been one wise SOB! :-)

Seriously, the 'hierarchy of needs' thing is to be noted, but make sure to put it in context. Someone who can't make bills, or maybe needs money for a nasty custody battle, or whatever, probably cares about money first. The "lower needs" are only important if the others have been met!