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Wayne Post
Author Stephen Balzac offers ways businesses can increase revenue and attract more clients.
Control Over Space
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About this blog
By Stephen Balzac
Author Stephen Balzac offers ways businesses can increase revenue and attract more clients with his 7 Steps Ahead philosophy. Whether you're trying to hire the right people or get your team on track, this is the place for accurate, useful ...
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Author Stephen Balzac offers ways businesses can increase revenue and attract more clients with his 7 Steps Ahead philosophy. Whether you're trying to hire the right people or get your team on track, this is the place for accurate, useful information. Stephen is an expert on leadership and organizational development, a consultant and professional speaker, and author of \x34The 36-Hour Course in Organizational Development,\x34 published by McGraw-Hill, and a contributing author to volume one of \x34Ethics and Game Design: Teaching Values Through Play.\x34 Contact Steve at steve@7stepsahead.com.
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This is an excerpt from my new book, Organizational Psychology for Managers.

 

As we’ve discussed in several chapters, the feeling of control is important. One of the key messages of the organizational narrative is autonomy: how much control do members of the organization have over their schedule, how they do their work, even when and where they work. Leaders need to foster a sense of autonomy and control amongst the members of their team for the team to achieve the highest levels of productivity and performance. We seek to exert control over time, and we seek to exert control over the space we are in. One easy, and powerful, way of doing this is putting a picture of a spouse or other important person on your desk, as we discussed in Chapter 5. However, that is not the only option.

As much as possible, we want to let people have control of their personal space; indeed, we want to make sure they have personal space to have control over! Not having a fixed working area is disorientating. You don’t really feel like part of the organization. Even when you have a fixed working area, be that an office or a cubical, how much control you have to arrange it to your liking or decorate it with personal effects varies from organization to organization. If you want everyone to think alike, a good first step is to make sure everyone’s office looks exactly alike. Of course, they will also tend to be less engaged and less likely to commit to the really difficult goals. Giving people control over their space makes them more engaged and helps them feel that they have more control over their ability to solve the organization’s goals. Control, or its lack, in the small areas of organizational behavior spreads outward to the big areas that businesses really care about.

It is also worth noting that wide open working areas and the lack of even the illusion of privacy can reduce people’s feelings of control. While there are some organizations where this is inevitable due to the nature of the work, much of the time cubical farms and pods are unnecessary and counter-productive. What they save in short-term costs they make up for in reduced concentration and increased distractibility. It’s hard to feel in control of your space when you can hear everyone talking or tapping on keys.

 



“…[Organizational Psychology for Managers’] combination of pop culture references, personal stories, and thought providing insights to illustrate world class leadership principles makes it a must read for business professionals at all management levels.” – Eric Bloom, President, Manager Mechanics, LLC

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