Why Your Boss is Programmed to be a Dictator: A book for anyone who has a boss or is a boss Paperback – Jun 1 2007
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About the Author
Chetan Dhruve has worked for several organizations, including IBM, Cisco Systems and the Department for International Development. He has also cofounded several Internet-based startups.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Having "been there done that" from both a manager and employee perspective, it does come down to the "work environment" being "the common denominator system"... both from the perspective of limiting the manager and the employee. There are other factors that greatly affect the manager-employee relationship basis and the success of the business:
1. The core Founding business vision and mission
2. The strength of the personal philosophy of the leaders ... CEOs, etc.
3. The priority of creating an open, stimulating, innovative workplace where respect, equality and fairness is paramount in the implementation of the Business' Vision and Mission statement.
I've had the good fortune of working in a startup where the Founder's vision held true (for the most part) to the above. However, a few months after the founders departure, the work place environment and the "system of systems", some of which the book describes, went in to disrepair. This was about 5 years after the founding event; 4 years after the environment had degraded into a "common place" environment subject to some of the rules and observations that you mention in depth with your book.
I feel that these Businesses and these situations "self-correct" by either going out of business or becoming "just another workplace". However, by then, severe damage to both the employee and the business is done; most of the top talent observe these system dynamics and leave for a better manager and work environment.
I feel that there is no substitute to having a strong set of leaders and managers that focus on some of the above priorities in a "Continuous Improvement" fashion and are bold enough to "throw away" value systems that simply do not add long term business, employee and workplace value. Awareness and education helps, but the large and legacy workplaces are subject to most of the weaknesses of the human condition - power, greed (management bonuses!), decision by committee and fear (both the manager and employee).
Dhruve makes a convincing argument that, contrary to popular belief, bosses are not leaders. True leaders are always chosen by their followers and are rarely selected by other bosses. He cites the example of Ghandi who changed a nation, not because he was thrust upon his people, but because so many Indians voluntarily accepted him as their leader. Unfortunately, too companies and agencies are essentially illiterate when it comes to understanding true leadership because they still believe that boss-subordinate relationship is the cornerstone of effective organizations.
When the boss-subordinate relationship determines day-to-day interactions, organizations become hierarchical systems where the power to control inevitably promotes the politics of fear and those who are controlled learn quickly to keep their mouths shut when they see things differently from their assigned superiors. Unfortunately, these systems can produce dire and sometimes fatal consequences. Dhruve references the worst disaster in aviation history, the crash of two jumbo jets on Tenerfie Island in March 1977, when a flight engineer concerned about the possible presence of another jet on the runway was brusquely rebuffed by his captain. He also delves into the two fatal NASA calamities where the boss-subordinate system allowed the bosses to silence the voices of those knowledge workers who know that those two shuttle craft were in serious jeopardy.
As we progress further into the 21st century, Dhruve warns that hierarchical organizations must be transformed into peer-to-peer communities where the politics of freedom supplants the politics of fear. in these communities, leaders and followers are mutually accountable to each other, which means not only do the leaders rate the performance of the followers, but the followers also rate the leaders. This transformation is necessary because hierarchical organizations will never be able to keep pace the speed of accelerating change spawned by today's networked technology. If you're a boss or you work for a boss, you need to read this book.
Author, "Leadership in a Wiki World: Leveraging Collective Knowledge to Make the Leap to Extraordinary Performance"
The problem is the way the typical organization is structured, and the culture of "fear" that is so pervasive throughout. Many of us have witnessed it firsthand; some have even written books about it (I did). To put it succinctly, the "fear-based culture" of management; the typical way of doing business in corporate America; has done a number of not so neat "tricks" over the past few decades. The very nature of the typical corporate hierarchy breeds intimidation; which breeds fear; which breeds micro-management; which breeds backstabbing.
That's a lot of breeding going on; and unfortunately, this type of breeding isn't at all fun. In fact, it's destroying many organizations by killing morale; that in turn hinders employee engagement; and the end result is lower productivity for corporate America. Estimates on how much this is costing our overall productivity range anywhere from $1 to $2 trillion, annually; and that's not a typo. Trillions of dollars is being wasted each year because the head-honchos of so many companies don't seem to understand that getting employees excited about going to work breeds success; because the happy & motivated employee is the productive employee.
If you want a real-life maverick's perspective on what's wrong with corporate America, I'd encourage you to take a look at my book---Life Under the Corporate Microscope: A Maverick's Irreverent Perspective---right here on Amazon.
In the meantime, I'd encourage you to buy this book, for the comprehensive explanation of what's wrong with big business & also check out Paul Herr's Primal Management: Unraveling the Secrets of Human Nature to Drive High Performance; another five star gem.
Mr. Dhruve asserts that there are two canonical forms of power systems: leaderships and dictatorships. By his definition, leaders are elected into power by those they lead, and dictators assume power by any other means. In corprocracies, dictators don't assume power by shedding blood, they assume power in a civilized manner; by anointment from higher status dictators.
The unquestioned assumption in dictatorships is that superior status equates directly with superior knowledge and judgment. In corpo dictatorships, un-submissive subjects aren't killed. They're marginalized at best, and fired at worst. Chetan closes his masterpiece with a brilliant quote targeted at anyone in any power structure:
If you aren't elected, you're a dictator - Chetan Dhruve