Unhappy Companies

In another post by Esther Derby, she points to this article in Industry Week by John Brandt about unhappy companies. Here is one of his ways he thinks unhappy companies are all alike:

A belief that employees are dangerous and lazy.

Unhappy companies invariably believe that their employees are out to sabotage the business, and they manage accordingly. All decisions — whether on strategy or coffee for the break room — have to be signed by three layers of management. What unhappy companies fail to understand is that if you treat people as if they’re worthless long enough, eventually they’ll either believe you (and behave accordingly) or they’ll spend all their energy trying to build a paper case that you’re wrong. Either way, your customers (and you) lose. ŽÂŽ 

Yowch, I’ve worked in a number of places like this, like practically everyone. There is a lot of wisdom in his observation above about treating people as if they are worthless.