Bosses Should Shift From Scroll to Swipe

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”  John Lennon

According to Michelle McQuaid – a leader in psychology interventions in the workplace — Americans are unhappy at their place of work and they simultaneously loathe their direct manager.

Key points McQuaid surfaced in a study she conducted with Americans include:

  • 36% of Americans are happy at their job / 64% are unhappy
  • 65% indicate a better boss would be them happier at work / 35% said a pay increase would
  • If those polled actually got along better with their boss 55% stated they would be happier at work while 60% suggested their performance would increase
  • Only 38% believe their bosses are ‘great’

More ammunition lies ahead.

study conducted at Indiana University that researched tweets over a three year period also proved we’re getting a lot unhappier.  In China, despite a financial boon that has enveloped many citizens in the country, the level of happiness dropped from 28% (itself, not very impressive) to an astonishing 12%. Chris M. Herbst at Arizona State University proved both men and women have seen their sense of life satisfaction decrease over a twenty year period.

The World Happiness Report does us no favours either. In their seminal research, they state:

One striking finding of happiness research is that the time of day when people are least happy is when they are in the presence of their line manager. This suggests that too many managers fail to inspire their workers and rely too much on mechanical incentives and command.

Of course we’ve known for years thanks to the Easterlin Paradox that money doesn’t buy happiness either. For example, in the U.S. gross national product per capita has grown by a factor of 3X since 1960 yet average happiness in America has remained the same since that time. That is, Americans have more money, on average, yet their level of happiness has flat-lined.

Where am I going with this doom and gloom?

I was staring at my iPad the other day thinking to myself, ‘I certainly do a lot more swiping than scrolling with this device compared to my laptop.’

And then it hit me.

What if bosses were more like an iPad versus a laptop?

What if they acted more horizontally than vertically?

What if — by swiping versus scrolling — bosses were able to flatten their style such that their team members felt they were part of the solution?

Would we be happier at work?

 


'Bosses Should Shift From Scroll to Swipe' have 6 comments

  1. 10/29/2012 @ 8:31 AM Mike Desjardins

    Well said Dan. Liz Wiseman’s book Multipliers fits with this concept: she focuses on having leaders not feel the need to be the smartest person on the room and carry all the decision making powers as well (http://multipliersbook.com/), and instead focus on guiding and growing.

  2. 10/29/2012 @ 8:52 AM Matthew Wilder

    Well said Dan. When a new paradigm comes along, we can learn a fundamentally better way of doing things. In user interfaces, that has been the realization that swipe and other touch gestures give us the direct connection to the content, whereas scrolling occured through a proxy, our mouse.

    In the life of bosses, management has been the great paradigm of business worldwide for centuries, but this is giving way to a new paradigm of true leadership. Rather than treating people as a thing to be managed and dealt with (management), we are seeing that treating people as valuable contributors with so much more to offer (leadership) unlocks a whole host of potential benefits. Back to the analogy, it’s a removal of the proxy of emotionless intructionism to an engaging, direct relationship built on constructionism.

    Hear, hear, Dan!

  3. 10/29/2012 @ 9:35 PM Paul Bleier

    @Matt – well said! Line managers that roll their sleeves up and get in there with their teams are sure to get more satisfaction, happiness and engagement from their people. We’re human beings that crave social encounters after all.

    @Dan – Will you be my Nexus 7?

  4. 10/30/2012 @ 9:26 AM Dan Pontefract

    @Mike – thanks, didn’t know about that book

    @Matthew – that’s exactly it … we are all contributors (or interlocutors)

    @Paul – I’ll be your Nexus 7 … absolutely

  5. 11/11/2012 @ 2:50 PM Nancy Cromarty

    Bang on, this concept has a definite place in the independent school system. Team members in an organization should be considered as part of the solution by the true definition of the word “team”. Going back to the basics…there is no “i” in team……elementary really.

  6. 11/17/2012 @ 1:52 PM Dan Pontefract

    @Nancy – and there is no ‘I’ in ‘we’ ;-)


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Dan Pontefract | dp at danpontefract dot com