Employees - allies or adversaries? [Blog]

Door: Ineke Hurkmans

What does it take for managers and leaders to realize that employees have the intention to collaborate, to commit themselves, to contribute and to offer ‘value for money’? Because 80% do. And 20% may need a little extra, but will ask for this themselves, or because they want to take a further step. Which means they have to learn things. Which means they need guidance and leadership.


I love this quote by Mathieu Weggeman:

‘In our organizations, we see too many highly overpaid managers who only seem interested in KPIs, reports and spreadsheets, keeping us from our actual jobs, while hardly adding any value themselves.’

He doesn’t mince words! He has a point though....

Yes - I see employees as allies. And I know from experience that if you give them the space to take their next step, they will come up with wonderful plans and ideas. So why are we still stuck in a management style from the 80s?

Because we are guided by FEAR. Fear for our own positions and our relevance. Fear of not meeting our targets when it comes to the next reorganization. Fear of no longer being in control. Fear of losing face. Fear of losing our salary. Fear of losing…

Not you of course, the manager reading this. This is about all those other managers.

Or is it? Imagine you weren’t there. What would really go wrong? How many things would get out of hand? Are organizations nowadays so focused on management, that managers have become indispensable?

You will never see a flock of starlings having a meeting about their destination. They just go South, where it's warm. Because they know. And that’s all they need. The things that matter, will come up along the way. The birds will deal with them as a group. I don’t see any bird managing or leading the flock. There’s a collective intelligence. And a shared trust.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

It’s time to start looking at employees as the allies they are, and leave the term ‘adversaries’ in the 80s, where it belongs.