Saturday 20th July 2024

    From the Editor's Desk

    Six Signs of a Parent-Child Dynamic at the Office

    To prepare for an upcoming program with a global chemicals company, I conducted a series of interviews with the top managers and the people who reported to them. I heard a familiar refrain: The people at the top felt like the people in the layers below just didn’t take the needed initiative. As a result, the managers felt an obligation and responsibility to tell the direct reports what to do and how to do it. As one manager put it, “They are just not ready to take on this level of responsibility, and they don’t have the overall oversight and understanding that we do.”

    When I spoke to the direct reports, they complained that the top managers didn’t trust them enough and acted paternalistic. As a result, the direct reports feared that if they took the initiative and something didn’t work as planned, they’d be punished. One country-level director said, “When something doesn’t work, we’ve learned to push it under the rug. Otherwise, it gets too complicated and messy.”

    Unsurprisingly, these behaviors and mindsets also showed up in the company’s results: Although its cash cow had continued to produce profits, there had been no innovations in some time. And the company was struggling to pivot in the direction of a new strategy.

    Continued here


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