roland@equalpartners.ca
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Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

Perfection – II. The Workplace

The main reason work is often stressful is that we expect
too much from people.  The thing that I remember from my working
years is the difficulties I had with other people, rarely the
work itself.

There are two major problems in the workplace:  incompetency
at the higher levels and competition.

Ambition is a natural human drive; individuals always want
to get ahead.  Unfortunately, over the years, I have seen too
many people reach a management position, and then be unable to
deliver.  They expect their staff to fill the gap, make up for
what they are lacking.  It would actually work if they accept the
expertise of their subordinates, often they don’t.  Life then
becomes miserable for all concerned.  You have a case of a “bad
boss” and employees transferring out of his department at the
first opportunity, or leaving the company altogether.

Competition exists within the company (if it is large
enough); or other companies, local or foreign, in the same line
of business.  I am interested in the first one.

A company or institution will tend to create a competitive
environment; only the best will be promoted.  To a certain extent
this is good for both parties.  The employees will aim higher,
thus furthering their career; and the institution will thrive.
It’s a win-win situation, but there is an important
qualification.  The institution should always remember that it’s
a difficult balancing act.  They should not go very far.  It’s
like a medicine, the proper dose is beneficial, a large dose is
toxic.

An audit I conducted many years ago will illustrate that
point.  A government agency prided itself in carrying out its
mandate to the satisfaction of Parliament.  Its staff was very
capable, thoroughly professional, and fiercely competitive.
Opportunities for promotion abounded, it was simply a question of
showing to top management that you had what it takes.  On the
surface all was well, beneath there was a lot of tension.  In
time, stress took its toll, and a consulting firm specializing in
this area was called to the rescue.

They offered training which essentially taught the staff
(only the staff, management was kept out) how to keep the level
of stress in check.  At the end of the course, they devoted half
a day to discuss with the participants the nature of their work,
and what caused stress.  A detailed survey was also completed.

A number of important issues were brought out, and many
beneficial recommendations were made.  The two things that I
remember after all these years are these:  Except for
universities, the consultants had never seen such a competitive
place.  However, one can expect, and accept, this type of
atmosphere in the academic world.  In the case of this agency,
this was downright unhealthy.  Among their recommendations was to
do away with performance reviews.  Managers and staff hated them;
they created unnecessary tension and could easily be replaced by
a frank discussion if and when required.

Did management implement all, or most, of the
recommendations?  Did things get better?  I do not know for I
drifted away from that audit.  Nevertheless, the details provided
above are sufficient food for thought for many top management
teams.

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