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管理

穆斯克的人生值得羡慕,但有一点千万别学他:微管理

Rick Wartzman 2015年01月26日

特斯拉公司创始人、亿万富翁埃隆•穆斯克可谓人生赢家。他的确拥有许多值得学习的长处,但穆斯克的万千粉丝们请注意:千万别效仿其引以为傲的“纳米级管理风格”,因为这种管理方式根本就无法调动员工的最大潜能。

    上周,埃隆•穆斯克在底特律车展上明确表示,特斯拉电动汽车有望达到最高的性能水平,从静止到时速60英里只需3.2秒——这完全是麦克拉伦赛车的加速水准。穆斯克还说,在他的调教下,员工们个个都很努力。

    穆斯克对《华尔街日报》表示:“如果你在打仗,亲临前线的效果要好得多。”他说,用“微管理”来形容自己还不够确切,他对员工的管理达到了更细致的“纳米级管理”。

    《华尔街日报》报道称,在特斯拉公司,穆斯克“事必躬亲,无论是日常运营,还是汽车设计的细节,他都会亲自过问”。穆斯克认为,这种描述其实并不夸张。穆斯克在他创办并运营的SpaceX火箭公司,他的管理风格也是如此。

    穆斯克是很多人羡慕的对象。这当然很好理解,这位亿万富翁结过两次婚,而且娶的都是美艳动人的女明星。他还打算在将来的某一天去火星逛逛,并且经常兜售他的“超回路高铁”理念。小罗伯特•唐尼扮演的钢铁侠,就是以他为原型塑造的。不过,在大批高管试图尝试“纳米级管理”理念之前,我们必须提醒他们:这种管理并不能发挥员工的最大潜能。

    我在克莱蒙特研究大学的同事保罗•扎克认为,只有在所谓“高度信任的环境”下,劳动者的工作表现才是最好的。扎克在神经经济学研究中心领衔的的研究团队对约50家公司的5000余名员工进行了调查。他们发现,处于高度信任状态的员工的生产力要比处于低信任状态的员工高出19%。扎克解释称,“高信任状态”的一个重要方面,就是要让员工自由地“选择自己想从事的项目”。

    如果人们在职场中的自主性被剥夺,他们就会觉得自己失去了控制力,这会令他们的大脑产生一种被威胁感。这种感受将提高员工感知的压力,从而导致他们的工作效率进一步下降。耶鲁大学神经生物学与心理学教授艾米•阿恩斯坦指出:“觉得自己具有控制力,哪怕那只是一种幻觉,是保持完整认知能力的关键所在。”

    优秀的管理者通常都知道搞“一言堂”的后果。美国制动蹄有限公司总裁小威廉•B•盖文在其1949年的经典著作《自下而上的管理》中指出,要想成功地激励员工,需要的是“教育,而非说教”。

    在当今快速变化的世界中,这句经典之谈尤其重要,因为企业需要从上至下的所有人不断贡献新鲜的想法。圣母大学商学教授F•阿瑟斯•玛蒂尼兹•赫雷斯指出:“你施加的控制越紧,创新程度就越低”。在2011年进行的一项研究中,赫雷斯和两名同事研究了赌场员工在不同管理压力下的工作表现。他们的结论是:“在那些‘严格监管’的业务部门,员工往往不愿进行创新尝试,而选择尽量不偏离明确的上级决策指导。”因此,他们学到服务顾客的新方法的机会也就更少。

    当然,也有一些例子显示按章办事的文化更可取。尤其是在从事那些以安全为第一考量的任务时,更需要加强对员工的管理。比如发生危机时,管理层的手腕要更强硬一些。

    一般来说,所有员工都需要有人指明方向。破解“纳米级管理”的良方并不是放弃所有管理手段,实现“垂拱而治”,而是要像古驰集团CEO罗伯特•波莱特所说的那样,为员工提供“框架内的自由”。

    克里斯•叶是Wasabi Ventures公司的一般合伙人,曾经与领英公司董事长里德•霍夫曼以及本•卡萨诺卡合著了《结盟:在网络时代管理人才》一书。他指出,最优秀的领导者“会设立极高的客户体验和产品设计标准,然后会提供详细的辅导和具有可行性的反馈意见”。

    盖洛普公司职场管理与福利事务首席科学家杰姆•哈特也认同这种观点。他的研究显示,当员工明确了他们应该负责产出哪些成果,然后被摆在一个理想的位置上利用他们的长处来实现这些成果时,员工的参与度是最高的。

    也就是说,成功管理的关键不是事无巨细,不是“过度管理”。据《华尔街日报》报道,“由于穆斯克坚持按他的路子做事,有些高管与穆斯克反目之后,主动辞职或被公司解雇”。这也符合扎克的研究成果:在信任度高的公司,员工的工作满意度和人才保留度会比信任度低的公司分别高出70%和69%。因此,一名管理者必须要在“钢铁侠”和“隐形女”之间找到最佳平衡。

    本文作者Rick Wartzman是克莱蒙特研究大学德鲁克研究院的执行董事,曾出版五本著作,他目前正撰写的一本新书,其主题是二战后美国雇主和劳工之间的社会契约变迁史。(财富中文网)

    译者:朴成奎

    审校:任文科

    Elon Musk roared into the Detroit Auto Show last week and made plain that it’s not only his Tesla TSLA 2.42% electric cars that are expected to meet the very highest performance standards, gunning from zero to 60 miles per hour in a McLaren-like 3.2 seconds. He rides his employees awfully hard, as well.

    “If you are fighting a battle, it’s way better if you are at the front lines,” Musk told the Wall Street Journal, describing himself not as a mere micromanager but as something far more intense—a “nano-manager.”

    Indeed, Musk makes no apologies for what theJournal described as “a hands-on obsession with the tiniest operational and car-design details at Tesla.” It’s safe to say that his domineering style doesn’t differ at SpaceX, the rocket company he founded and runs.

    Musk is the envy of many—and why not? He’s abillionaire. He was married (twice) to a beautiful actress. He has plans to visit Mars someday. He nonchalantly tosses around the word “Hyperloop.”Heck, he’s the model for Tony Stark, the swashbuckling genius played by Robert Downey Jr. in the “Iron Man” films.

    But before legions of executives start trying to be nano-managers, here’s a note of caution: This is a terrible way to get the most out of your people.

    Workers perform best when they’re in what Paul Zak, my colleague at Claremont Graduate University, describes as a “high-trust environment.” By looking at some 5,000 employees at about 50 companies, Zak and his team at the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies have found that those in high-trust situations are 19% more productive than those in low-trust workplaces. One crucial aspect of being in a high-trust setting, Zak explains, is having “the freedom to take on projects the way you choose to.”

    When people’s autonomy in the workplace is sharply curtailed, they feel as if they’ve lost control—and, in turn, their brains react as if they’re being threatened. That raises their level of stress, which often causes them to perform poorly. “Feeling in control, even if it’s an illusion, is key to … cognitive ability staying intact,” Amy Arnsten, a professor of neurobiology and psychology at Yale, has pointed out.

    Great managers have always known the trouble with dictating to employees. Successfully motivating employees “involves teaching rather than telling,” William B. Given Jr., the president of American Brake Shoe Co., wrote in his 1949 classic Bottom-Up Management.

    This dynamic is especially important in today’s fast-moving world, when organizations need everyone, from top to bottom, to continually come up with fresh ideas. “The tighter the controls you enforce, the lower the innovation,” says F. Asis Martinez-Jerez, a business professor at Notre Dame. In a 2011 study, he and two colleagues studied casino workers under different degrees of management oversight. Their conclusion: “Employees in ‘tightly monitored’ business units face strong implicit incentives to experiment less by deviating less often from explicit decision guidelines.” As a consequence, they “have fewer opportunities to learn” new ways to serve their customers.

    There are, of course, instances where a by-the-book culture is appropriate. Tasks in which safety is a paramount concern may demand a tighter leash, for example. Managing during a crisis may also require a heavier hand.

    More generally, all employees need direction. The antidote to micromanagement is not to abdicate all management and disappear. Rather, the ideal is to offer employees what former Gucci Group CEO Robert Polet liked to call “freedom within the framework.”

    The best leaders set “extremely high standards when it comes to things like the customer experience and the design of the product,” says Chris Yeh, general partner at Wasabi Ventures and co-author with LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha of The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age.“They provide detailed coaching and actionable feedback.”

    Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist for Workplace Management and Well-Being, agrees. His research shows that employees are most engaged when it’s been made clear to them what outcomes they’re responsible for—and are then put in an optimal position to use their strengths to achieve those results.

    The trick is to not push it too far—to not “over-manage,” as Harter puts it. The Journal reported that at Tesla, “some high-level managers quit or were fired after clashing with the chief executive over Mr. Musk’s insistence on doing things his way.” This jibes with Zak’s studies: High-trust companies, he says, boast 70% greater job satisfaction and 69% higher job retention than low-trust ones.

    In the end, a manager’s role is to find that sweet spot between Iron Man and Invisible Woman.

    Rick Wartzman is the executive director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University. Author or editor of five books, he is currently writing a narrative history of how the social contract between employer and employee in America has changed since the end of World War II.

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