March 20th, 2013
When a manager wants people to work overtime, to feel invested in an organization, what’s the real issue behind the words? It might be that the manager wants people to have the same sense of investment in the organization as the manager does. In that case, it’s useful to ask, am I creating an environment where people feel autonomous? Do they have purpose? Are they mastering their craft?
It might not be that at all. It could be an issue of project portfolio management, where people are spread so thinly around so many projects that they don’t have time for any single project. If so, see if your manager is caught up in the myth of 100 percent utilization.
Sometimes, managers think they can measure people by the time they spend at work. Wanting people to work overtime is related to that myth. When you force people to timebox their work to just the workday, they start making choices about the work they do and don’t do. They stop doing time-wasting work. They start doing useful work, and they start collaborating. But, only if you stop interfering.
A new angle to the old story.