People who take
15-minute breaks every couple of hours are more
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
“Theory A” and “Theory B”.
1960, psychologist and MIT management professor Douglas McGregor
proposed these two theories on human nature in the workplace, in
a book titled The Human Side of Enterprise.
assumes that the average human is like the TV character Homer
Simpson on The Simpsons. It states that people:
Have an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it whenever
2. Must be coerced, controlled, directed or
threatened with punishment to get them to achieve organizational
3. Prefer to be directed and do not want
responsibility; have little or no ambition; and seek security
above all else. All other things being equal, they work just
hard enough not to get fired
Theory Y assumes is that
the average human is more like the Energizer Bunny. It states
1. Work is as natural as play and rest
2. People will exercise self-direction if they are committed to
3. People seek responsibility and are not
Regardless of which theory you subscribe to,
it’s an irrefutable fact that working hard is learned behavior.
It’s something that must be taught by an authority figure in our
lives, just as we’re taught how to tie our shoes and drive a
Just as good work habits can be learned, they can
also be unlearned. There are common barriers that de-motivate
previously highly motivated employees. While most management
training (my own included) focus on what the employee has done
to cause this, sometimes the demotivation comes from sources the
employee has no control over.
One is the manager.
Even the most seasoned manager can become an impediment to
their employees’ performance through things like:
The Peter Principle
understanding why different generations expect such differing
levels of supervisory involvement
4. The Hawthorne Effect
Another is a bad compensation structure, which manifests
itself in things like:
1. Salary Compression
3. Across-the-board raises
So how do you
remove these performance barriers? For starters, keep investing
5 minutes of your time into reading this newsletter every
To Your Success,
example of how differing generations expect different levels of
feedback from you as a boss. A survey by Robert Half
International and Yahoo HotJobs found that 60% of workers in
their twenties want to hear from their boss every single day.
This is an extension of having grown up with Helicopter Parents,
who were heavily involved in every aspect of their kids’ lives.
This is in stark contrast to fiercely independent Gen X, who grew
up with much less parental involvement, coining the term
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