The ‘Z’ Theory of Management

There are three main management theories:

X Theory says, “I’m the owner. I’m the boss. I’ve built this company with my blood, sweat, and tears. Do what I say, and don’t ask any questions.”

Y Theory is what I learned in college. It says, “I’m the owner. I’m the boss. I built this company with my blood, sweat and tears. This is what I want you to do. Tell me what you think, and I’ll tell you whether it’s OK.”

Z Theory says, “I’m the owner. I’m the boss. I’m the manager. I built this company with my blood, sweat and tears. I know a lot, and when we have something that’s important, I understand that my team knows a lot also. In fact, in regards to their job, they likely know far more than me. On those important decisions that involve others, I’m going to get stakeholders involved and find the best answer.”

When you ask employees “If we have a problem or an opportunity and we’re an X theory management organization, whose problem is it?” The answer? “The boss’s.”

And if you ask them “If we’re a Y theory management business, whose problem is it?” their answer is “The boss’s.”

But if you were to ask “If we have a problem or opportunity and we’re a Z theory company, whose problem is it?” you’d get a different answer: “Ours!

Summing-up: With Z theory management, we get everyone on the same side of the table working together to solve the problem.

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