How much management is needed? LO30425

From: Alan Cotterell (
Date: 07/29/03

Replying to LO30413 --

Dear At et al,

A while ago I was employed for a short time 'supervising' 'work for the
dole' people. Some of the essentials I believe in is not to 'direct',
where possible always give a choice, lead by example.

The truth about management comes out in the forced labour situation where
people aren't getting paid.

These people had been out of work for over twelve months and forced to
participate in a scheme where employers received totally subsidised
labour. The eight I was involved with were totally sick of emptying bins
and pulling weeds.

When I came along, I started them on a project of smashing concrete pads
and replacing them with brick pavers. The guys really enjoyed working up
a sweat.

I described this situation to a few people, one said she wondered what was
missing in these workers former workplaces. Another said that if I
continued with my experiments, I would arrive at 'self-directed work
groups'. He also said that every time he mentioned 'self-management' to
corporate managers in Australia, they looked at him as though he had just
run up the Eureka Flag (involved in a historical rebellion in the 1800s).

Personally I don't need to be told how to do a job of work, I am a
professional. The guys involved in the 'work for the dole' program were
as intelligent as any I met at university. Why do we need managers?

The old reason is transfer of policy from above - documented management
systems remove the need.

Best Regards,
Alan Cotterell


"Alan Cotterell" <>

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