Joel Spolsky is running a great little blog essay series on three different management methods. While I don’t ever agree completely with Spolsky — and you probably won’t either — you ought to read them.
For the few managers/director-types that may be reading this blog. You really, really, really need to read the essay about Command and Control Management and make sure that you don’t identify with the subject of the essay. And if you do. You better seriously think about your own philosophies.
Joel sums it up with the Identity Method as his heralded method. The summary statement is:
In general, Identity Management requires you to create a cohesive, jelled team that feels like a family, so that people have a sense of loyalty and commitment to their coworkers.
The second part, though, is to give people the information they need to steer the organization in the right direction.
Dr. Phil Windley, comments on this too, addressing some of the points.
For the identity method to work, employees have to be comfortable arguing with the boss and the boss has to be comfortable with that. As Joel says, if you give people information and then discuss the ramifications of actions with them, the group will typically come to a good decision.
I’m very, very, very thankful that I’ve had direct managers that knew that I wasn’t disrespecting them when I questioned (or even argued) directives that flew in the face of where I knew the technology was. And I hope that I openly encouraged the staff that I’ve managed to ask questions, and even flat out tell me that I was wrong about something, because they’d often know better than me. That honest, open, reflective exchange, being willing to admit when you are wrong, and building a core philosophy and vision in your team and letting each team member up and down the “ranks” contribute ideas/details/work to achieving that philosophy and vision is the only way you get trust and respect (and success) in your team.