Management: “Bosses” or “partners”?

Vladimir Lenin, the first head of the Russian Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, argued that the best way to raise labor productivity was through strict control of production and distribution. Soviet managers were thus mandated to use a heavy hand in management; work conditions were at the absolute will of the Soviet director. On the other hand, the Western management model encouraged voluntary associations and exchanges, and let the market — not party bosses — dictate innovation. Western managers began to recognize the rights of the individual and of the individual within groups.

Gallup Polls evidence the relationship between partnership and satisfaction in countries across the former Eastern bloc. For those respondents who see their supervisor as a partner, an overwhelming 87% say they are satisfied with their work. Only 11% say they are not satisfied. For those who see their supervisor as a boss, 69% of respondents are satisfied with their job, and 27% were dissatisfied. Respondents who feel their supervisor treats them as a partner are also more likely to feel like they are doing what they do best, that someone encourages their development, and that their opinions count.

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