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- Self-fulfilling prophecy is a phenomenon by which people’s
expectations about the future events lead them to behave in particular ways
that, on occasion, can cause the expected event to occur. People tend to
find what they are looking for. More than that, they may even tend,
unwittingly, to create what they seek.
- If leaders want to control workers, they will lead in such a
way that self-fulfilling prophecy will condition workers to do nothing
unless closely supervised. If leaders want workers to assume responsibility,
they must lead in such a way that self-fulfilling prophecy will condition
workers to assume responsibility. Employee turnover sorts personalities,
attracting people who fit the leader’s image and rejecting those who don’t,
thus fulfilling the self-fulfilling prophecy.
Prejudice in any form, racial or social, is destructive and costly to
society. Up until the ‘60s, society accepted racial prejudice, then the target
of racial prejudice rebelled and society realized the destructive force of this
attitude. Today, social prejudice is accepted by society and few realize its
destructive force. It kills motivation and increases overhead cost in business.
It forces students to drop out of school with a failure label that prevents them
from discovering their natural talent. Self-fulfilling prophecy does the rest.
- Social prejudice believes other people are less capable than
us. If we are managers and we think other people are less capable, then we
will establish a management policy that reflects that belief. Through
employee turnover and self-fulfilling prophecy, our opinion will be proven
- Social prejudice is like any prejudice, "I am better than
them, I come from a better neighborhood, I have a better education, and
therefore I must make all the decisions." Prejudice in any form, racial or
social, carries a heavy price, it lowers efficiency and increases overhead
cost. Prejudice kills communications, innovation, motivation just to name a
- Social class is a prejudice barrier between white-collar and
blue-collar employees. With leaders prejudice as a role model, other,
lesser-defined social prejudice barriers develop in the organization.
Departments will limit communication with other departments; craftsmen will
consider production workers of low intelligence to name two. At each level,
people believe lower levels have low capabilities and this becomes the
mindset of the organization. Self-fulfilling prophecy proves everyone right.
- Leaders with strong social prejudice use command-and-control
leadership. Control is more important than getting the job done. Leaders and
subordinates spend a great deal of time in the blame game. It is socially
unacceptable for an engineer to ask advice from a front line employee.
- Leaders who are free of social prejudice are willing to use
responsibility leadership. Getting the job done is more important than
control. Leaders and subordinates work together, searching for a better way.
Leaders are free to ask advice from anyone at any level. Asking for advice
has a motivating influence by itself.
Prejudice Influences Leadership Styles
In business, social prejudice has always been a barrier to the flow of
information. Leadership likes the feeling of its power while the targets of
prejudice tolerate it. During the industrial age, the speed of communications
was not critical compared to today and the barriers, social prejudice produced,
had limited effect. With today’s fast changing trends, there is a need for fast
flowing quality information. Social prejudice reduces quality and slows the
flow. Social prejudice is a chasm that separates information from the people who
need it. Many leaders are too proud to reach across and ask for it, instead,
they will ask someone for their opinion on their side of the chasm. In the
technology age, information is needed from the source, not chain of command or
someone’s theory. To stay competitive, work environments must be free of social
prejudice and leaders must be willing to cross social class barriers to seek
command-and-control leadership is the most popular leadership style while
being the least efficient. Why it is popular? Because it appeals to man's
natural desire for power, control, and influence. It gives leaders a feeling of
job security, of being needed and indispensable. It is disliked by people who
must follow orders, especially when recipients feel the effects of social
prejudice. Conflicts between managers and workers increases overhead cost.
Managers spend much of their time finding ways to overcome worker's resistance
while workers spend much of their time searching for ways to do less. Worker
responsibility is a threat to leaders, because their ideas may be challenged,
they may feel they are not in control, and they are uncomfortable with advice
from those who they feel are inferior.
The reason command-and-control leadership makes money is because all of their
competitors use the same management system. When a competitor empowers its
workers, overhead costs come down and the command-and-control company will soon
be out of business. This is how Wal-Mart stores’ is putting their competitors
out of business.
Workers have the same natural desires, "My idea is best and I am in control."
When it is the worker's idea and they are responsible, they will make their
ideas work. Searching for a better way motivates workers, which makes them
efficient. Efficiency is team effort, where everyone from the CEO to the janitor
is considered to have valuable information. Team responsibility produces a
highly efficient work environment. This environment is free of social prejudice.
A small, but growing number of businesses recognize that team responsibility
is extremely efficient and that social prejudice is a major barrier. To make
responsibility effective, they have policies that keep prejudices out of the
system - Wal-Mart is an example. In fact, this is the way startups can penetrate
the turf of established companies - Southwest Airlines is an example. Many
established companies recognize how small startups are gaining the market share
and are trying to change the mindset of its workforce. During an economic down
turn, surviving companies will be the ones who control social prejudice in the
workplace and implement team responsibility concepts. The next generation of
leaders will be free of social prejudice, will act as a coach and will delegate
responsibility with decision-making powers.
- As I write this, August 2000, political leaders are promoting
reverse social prejudice in the United States. In hidden undertones, they
are saying, "You are a working family, your boss and the company you work
for are powerful and therefore they are your enmity. You need political
leaders who have the courage to take from the rich and give to the poor."
IS THIS AMERICA? - This is how the socialistic system in Russia started a
hundred years ago. The prosperity America enjoys today is the result of
business leaders tearing down the walls between management and workers.
Productivity increase when management and workers team up. Now we have
political leaders implementing policies to rebuild those walls.
- The education system is a teacher and promoter of social
prejudice. The system relates blue-collar skills to low ambition, because
the system is run by intellectuals for intellectuals. Intellectuals do not
want to be associated with blue-collar people; therefore, they teach high
school students to set higher goals than vocational skills offer. In the
typical classroom, many students are technical talented and these students
should be encouraged and given opportunity to develop this talent. Technical
talented students are not intellectuals, not being able to develop what they
are best at, they dropout and become a burden on society. School dropouts
are the result of social prejudice in the classroom, it's not because they
Kids go to Jail
- Mutiny on the Bounty
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