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The Connection Issue No. 5 An LAEAP Publication for Managers and Supervisors of the Los Angeles District December 2010

How To Get Better Results From Your Employees! Theory X versus Theory Y Theory X assumes that most people find work naturally unpleasant, lack ambition, have little desire for responsibility, and prefer to be directed; they are not creative in solving organizational problems, and they want safety above all. Managers who accept Theory X believes that people are motivated by money, fringe benefits, and threats of punishments. Theory X managers believe that people work only as long as they are watched; therefore, the best management approach is to tell them specifically what they must do and closely control them or bully them to make sure they do it. Theory X builds a top-heavy organization with many levels of managers who are planning, deciding, and policing what everyone is doing. Theory Y, which assumes that people are not naturally lazy or unreliable, and that a properly motivated worker is capable of directing his or her own efforts to accomplish organized goals. According to Theory Y, work is considered as natural as play if the conditions are favorable; people do have the capacity and creativity for solving organizational problems; they can be self-directed and creative at work if properly motivated. Managers in organizations that accept Theory Y push information and responsibility downward, explaining to workers the reasons why things should be done. Managers also spend time with workers discussing problems and asking for their ideas and suggestions as to how the job can be done better. The most important conclusion that can be drawn from McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y concept is not about workers, but about managers: managers do what they do for or to workers because of what they believe about workers. Managers are not as successful as they should be in the face-to-face process primarily because of their unfounded and flawed (and self-destructive) beliefs about workers.

In order to increase employee productivity, seek to do the following: 1. Discover more incidents of achievement. 2. Recognize achievement as soon as you become aware of it. 3. Make a list of the ways you can show appreciation. 4. Be conscious of your positive vs. negative language.


Ask yourself if you would act differently as a manager if you really believed all your workers wanted to and were capable of being successful. One of the most interesting realizations that come from Herzberg’s research is that the things that dissatisfy workers are not just the opposites of the things that satisfy workers. The factors or relationships of the job that lead to each are distinctly different. A few dissatisfies and satisfiers are: Dissatisfiers Company policy administration Supervision Work Conditions Salary

Satisfiers Achievement Recognition Work itself Responsibility

Herzberg labeled the satisfiers as motivators because they had the positive effect of increasing the individual’s output. Of these satisfiers he found achievement to be the single strongest motivator. A logical question would be “What do managers do today in business because of these important findings? For example, if achievement and recognition are the strongest motivators and lead to increased productivity, what do we managers do as a general practice to take advantage of that? The answer is little or nothing. In fact we behave contrary to his findings; we spend a lot of time convincing people that the good work they produce is normal-that what they achieve is what was expected anyhow, and that’s what they get paid for. In spite of the fact that Herzberg’s first work on the subject was published in 1959, it appears that managers continue to ignore the motivational influences of achievement and recognition. If achievement and recognition are the single strongest motivators, the things you should do as a manager to increase productivity are as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Get out from behind your desk so you can discover more incidents of achievement. Be sure to recognize achievement as soon as you become aware of it; one liner e-mails are fine. Interpret incidents of lesser degrees of failure as achievements; recognize them. Make up a list of how many hundred ways you can show appreciation. Be conscious of the percentage of words you use when talking to employees about bad things they do as compared to the percentage you use talking about good things and increase the good things percentage. Write the initials of each person answering to you on your calendar each day. Then each day before you go home. Put an x beside each one who achieved something and circle x if you have recognized that achievement. Then do more steps 1, 2, and 3, to increase the number of xs and circles.

Douglas McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1960. Frederick Herzberg, The Motivation to Work, Wiley & Sons, New York, 1959.


We thank you “for all you do� in helping to make Los Angeles the best Postal District on the map. As managers and supervisors, you are setting the trend as leaders and mentors of the next generation in what is one of the most valid and reliable sources of communication on the globe, the U.S. Postal Service.

We Are You!

The Los Angeles Employee Assistance Program is a multidimensional service provider. Manager resources are provided by LAEAP. An essential component of LAEAP is the provision of consultation, coaching and training services to managers and supervisors. The Los Angeles Employee Assistance Program is a multidimensional service provider. Manager resources are provided LAEAP. An component of LAEAP is the All coaching appointments areby voluntary andessential confidential. provision of consultation, coaching and training services to managers and supervisors. All coaching appointments voluntary and Professional and Qualified are Counselors can beconfidential. reached at the following phone numbers: Professional and Qualified Counselors can be reached at theBrenda following phone numbers: Logan, Clinical Supervisor (323) 586-2617 Rudy Serna, EAP Counselor (323) 586-2620 Brenda Logan, Clinical Supervisor (323) Rudy Berru, EAP Counselor (323)586-2617 586-2615 Rudy Serna, EAP Counselor (323) 586-2620 Gilbert Atwood, EAP Counselor (323) 586-2621 Rudy Berru, EAP Counselor (323) 586-2615

The Connection is a monthly ezine published by The Los Angeles Employee Assistance Program. The Connection is a monthly ezine published The Los Angeles Employee Assistance Program. Layout and Design by Meiko S. Patton (858)by 674-2676. Layout and Design by Pacific Area Communications Specialist Meiko S. Patton (858) 674-2676.

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