3 Compelling Theories That Every Manager Should be Aware of

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The most difficult aspect of being a people manager is attempting to comprehend what’s going on in your team and why things don’t go as planned. The scientific community has gone into this field throughout the years and provided a variety of hypotheses to assist the frustrated people manager.

People managers may better grasp what inspires and demotivates their staff with these systems in place. And this comprehension may be converted into behaviors that contribute to a more productive and happy team.

Parkinson’s Law

Even if you don’t know what it’s called, you’ve undoubtedly witnessed it. According to Parkinson’s Law, “work expands to occupy the time available for completion.” We’ve all been there: you assign a work to a member of your team that should take an hour, but it’s already the end of the day and only comes together in the last hour.

Cyril Northcote Parkinson invented the word in a satirical piece he published for The Economist in 1955. Parkinson’s law is still as relevant now as it was when it was originally published almost seventy years ago.

How can managers overcome Parkinson’s Law?

By following these 7 tricks:

  1. Scoping work so that everyone is aware of what is required.
  2. Define what ‘done’ means.
  3. Set limits so that everyone is on the same page in terms of timelines and finances
  4. Divide the tasks into milestones with deadlines.
  5. Create challenges and rewards to help you get the work done faster
  6. Understanding what happens once a task is completed
  7. Gaming the system – If you observe Parkinson’s Law in action, try setting lofty goals or making your expectations known to the public.

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Peter’s Principle

According to this management approach, applicants are chosen for a position based on their present performance rather than their capacity to succeed in a new one. If this occurs, staff will only be promoted until they are no longer able to function successfully – “managers climb to the level of their ineptitude.”

It’s simple to see it in action — for example, a brilliant salesman who is squandering their potential because they were promoted to sales management. Simply being able to sell does not imply being able to manage the sales function.

The Dilbert Principle is a version on the Peter Principle, which asserts that firms prefer to promote their least-competent employees to management in order to minimize the amount of harm they may cause.

How can managers prevent the Peter Principle?

By following these 5 ground rules:

  1. Create a detailed job description for each position and hire based on it.
  2. Create alternate methods of rewarding good workers so that there are alternatives to promotion.
  3. Avoid adding the term “manager” to the end of a job title just to recognize outstanding performance.
  4. Recognize where a person falls short of the needed abilities and develop a training program to close the gap.
  5. Hold one-on-one meetings with your staff on a regular basis, and don’t be afraid to address underperformance.

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The Losada Line

Marcial Losada, a psychologist, discovered the figure 2.9013 after a decade of significant research on high and low-performing teams. This is the ratio of good to negative interactions necessary for a team to be effective.

It takes around three good statements, experiences, or emotions to cancel out the impact of one negative comment.

This explains why it’s so tough for people managers to get employees out of a funk when anything goes wrong. It might also explain why a failing team spirals downward – there’s just not enough positive news to go around.

How can managers collaborate with the Losada Line?

To begin, it’s critical to recognize that you can’t beat the Losada Line. Good people managers, on the other hand, learn how to deal with it. Here’s how it works

  1. Create a positive feedback credit bank.
  2. Always search for reasons to rejoice.
  3. Always be on the lookout for positive developments and make it obvious that you’ve observed them.
  4. Capture individuals doing good, no matter how tiny, and praise them with a simple ‘thank you.’

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The Losada Line does not imply that you should be hesitant to provide unfavorable comments. It also does not imply that you should be too optimistic in the face of adversity. It’s all about finding a happy medium and understanding how to convey bad news.