Leading Your Team to Peak Performance in All Situations

Do you think your team is motivated to come to work each day? Or do you believe they come to work because they must, for the money?

What you think of your people affects how you manage them. In turn, this affects their performance, your ability to build a productive sales team and step away, and the potential of your business to grow. McGregor’s X and Y Theory is an easy-to-understand explanation of this.

McGregor’s Theory X

Are you an X-rated manager? No, I’m not talking dirty, but asking if you think your people only turn up because they need the money. You may not even realize this is the case, but it is reflected in how you manage them.

A Theory X manager tends to micromanage. You believe your employees must be closely supervised, and that you have to ‘crack the whip’ to get them to do their job. Even then, you feel they take on their tasks reluctantly, doing only just enough to get through the day without being sacked.

In short, your style of rule is authoritarian. Your employees act as subordinates, unwilling to accept responsibility and doing no more than they are told to do.

McGregor’s Theory Y

McGregor’s Theory Y puts managers at the opposite end of the spectrum. You believe that your people are self-motivated, creative, and enthusiastic about taking on more responsibility. You think they are natural learners who enjoy their work for the work they do, and are not motivated solely by money.

As a Theory Y manager, you give your team plenty of room to self-manage and to reach their full potential. They respond positively, motivated by doing a great job and the autonomy that you give them.

So, Theory Y is better than Theory X, isn’t it?

Conventional wisdom tells us that a Theory Y manager is likely to get better results than a Theory X manager. After all, who wants to work for a manager who spends all their time looking over your shoulder?

It’s not quite that simple.

While it may be true that certain employees in certain industries respond better to a management style based on Theory Y leadership, managing by inspiration is not always the best modus operandi.

As an example, in general, salespeople are, by their nature, better when working autonomously. They thrive on responsibility and will show innovation in their working practices. However, there are times when a manager must dictate tasks that are to be completed. It is also true that a more authoritative approach works best when work is time sensitive or during periods of emergency.

Tasks that are best managed by a Theory X strategy tend to be those that are predictable, repetitive, or where monitoring is necessary. The systematic tasks associated with sales admin, for example.

X is (usually) easier than Y

Another complicating factor is that most managers find control easier to exert under Theory X leadership. This is especially true when they are expected to give instructions, and the hierarchical nature of an organization dictates that the manager has the authority to command and expect their will to be done.

Theory Y leaders will take time to offer guidance to what is needed to be done. They will select tasks for individuals or micro teams to do, meaning they must have a deep understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their people. They will be coaches and mentors.

In most organizations, the nature of work means that a blended approach is best, as you adapt your management style to the needs of your business and the needs of individuals.

Know your people to know how to manage them

To know when to apply which style of leadership, you might pinch a trick or two from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This theory sets out that a person’s needs must be met in sequence as follows:

Basic needs that can be provided by managing under Theory X

  • Physiological needs (food; water; warmth; rest)

  • Safety needs (security and safety)

Psychological needs

  • Social needs (relationships and friends)

  • Esteem needs (the feeling of value and accomplishment)

Self-fulfillment needs

  • Achievement of potential, innovation, and creativity

Theory X management provides people’s basic needs and social needs, while Theory Y management provides people’s social and self-fulfillment needs.

Trust is key to manage effectively in Theory Y

Perhaps the major difference in the approach of Theory X and Theory Y can be summed up as the level of trust you have in your people. You don’t need to trust your people to manage by authority, but you do to manage by a Theory Y approach.

Knowing when to trust your employees will help you decide which model of management is best in which situation.

The first step is to gain the trust of your employees, by letting go and showing you trust them. That’s often easier said than done. When you do, though, it’s a liberating experience, and a necessary one if your business is to grow to its full potential.

Remember, even if you are a one-person company, you are not a one-man operation. Here’s a couple of questions for you:

  • Are you finding it hard to let go and trust your people?

  • How do you manage your people?

Feel free to contact me today and let me help you get started on developing the skillsets that will help you lead a high-performing sales team.

Publish Date:12/25/2020 12:00:00 AM
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Leading Your Team to Peak Performance in All Situations
Do you think your team is motivated to come to work each day? Or do you believe they come to work because they must, for the money?
What you think of your people affects how you manage them. In turn, this affects their performance, your ability to build a productive sales team and step away, and the potential of your business to grow. McGregor’s X and Y Theory is an easy-to-understand explanation of this.
McGregor’s Theory X

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