"This book was written for me. I need to get a copy!" "I've been waiting for a book like this!"
"Wish I could have gotten this advice years ago."
That's what we've heard from individuals who've read Rebels at Work, at least those individuals who aren't managers in large organizations.
From the managers, at least some of them, the reaction is a bit more....muted, shall we say.
"Why would I want my employees to make my life even more difficult?"
"Are you suggesting that my employees are always right?"
"The last thing I want to do is to encourage dissent in the workplace!"
And we wonder why why we have a crisis of Employee Engagement in the workplace. Although we suspect the problem is not that employees aren't engaged in their work--at least in the beginning. All of the new entrants into the labor force we meet--mostly those frisky Millennials--are super excited to start contributing.
And yet somehow they become DISENGAGED.
Employee Engagement implies that the attitudes of the workers are the issue.
Employee DISENGAGEMENT may be more to the point. Something leads them to reassess their commitment and disconnect from their jobs. And one of the main causes of disengagement is the sense they get from their organizations that their views and contributions are not respected.
Note that I didn't directly blame managers. Sure, they're part of the organization, but I suspect there's something deeper at play. In a nifty piece in Fast Company more than a year ago leadership consultant Michael Chayes argued that the scientific management principles that emerged at the start of the last century bear much of the blame. As a result of these principles:
Managers became the “adults,” planning for and directing the more “child-like” workers, who lacked the capacity to manage their own work lives. The resulting culture of business promoted high productivity, but at the expense of workers who became little more than “cogs in the system."
Rebels at Work is the book for those who believe we can all be Adults at Work. It's not anti-management. It's pro-humans.