When you give your energy and passion to a corporation, eventually you lose yourself. It is possible to lose your identity and your personality in order to be molded into what the company expects. To climb the corporate ladder, some folks will morph into whatever creature is necessary to be promotable. Their results are not as important as how their results or non-results are achieved. Work style, versus the work product, becomes king. Being present and accounted for each and every day is also a key component of this archaic and brutal system.
My father worked for the same energy company 40 years, received a perfect attendance award and a gold watch upon retirement, then died several months later of a massive heart attack, unable to enjoy his long-awaited retirement. His compliance with the corporate system likely led to his premature death. Fortunately, I checked out of the system a few years ago.
One major reason people lose their identities, if not souls, during their career is leadership inflexibility. Evidently, leaders learn how to be inflexible the first day in graduate school because there are some exquisitely inflexible people out in the business world. Their ability to track every minute of your arrival, lunch and departure times to the millisecond, plus your latest PTO balance, is impressively accurate. I have met leaders who expect employees to arrive promptly at 8am each morning with little wiggle room, yet they expect employees to be flexible when an unexpected project deadline arrives and they are needed to work late into the evening or over the weekend.
How creative can employees be when they are watched like prisoners?
Face-time leaders are really not that effective because they spend so much time looking at the clock and trying to keep track of bodies and cubicles. They think telecommuting only applies to employees with influenza, Ebola, or something very contagious.
Flexibility, on the other hand, works both ways. Leaders need flexibility from employees and employees need it from their leaders. Leaders, however, must be willing to make the first step. Releasing flexibility throughout an inflexible organization is like giving life to a dead corpse.
This is one major reason why I am so enamored by the movement called ROWE. Short for Results-Only Work Environment, the focus has changed from face-time with the boss and sitting at a cubicle all day, or waiting until the boss leaves before going home. The focus shifts to the actual results one contributes to the company. Companies adopting the ROWE work style have witnessed productivity increases as high as 40%. The benefits of the movement touch employees and companies in many ways, including happier employees and a bigger bottom line.
What are your thoughts about the reasons for inflexibility? Would your company consider ROWE? What types of leaders are against ROWE?