10-Second Quiz: Your Leadership Worldview

Which seems more accurate to you?

  1. People are generally good, and want to do their best.
  2. People will take advantage if you let them.

This is more than a management issue, it’s a worldview. But this worldview informs our management philosophy and practices.

Didn’t realize you had a management philosophy? Oh, you do. We all do. At the deepest level there are only two camps to pick from, though naturally some of us are more extreme in our outlook than others.

One outlook says our people need to be watched, controlled, and motivated if we want to get them to work.

The other says none of that is true. Rather, people want to do their best, so to earn our pay as leaders, all we have to do is figure out how best to help them.

Next time, we’ll dig a little deeper into what this means at work.*

What about you? What’s your worldview? Or am I wrong, and there are more than two options that I’ve overlooked? I’d love to read all about it in the comments!


*This is part one of a three-part series.


Photo courtesy of  worldview

Ted Coiné is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership and Management Expert. This stance at the crossroads of social and leadership put him in a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. The result, after five years of trend watching, interviewing and intensive research, is his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive, which he co-authored with Mark Babbitt. An inspirational speaker and popular blogger, Ted is a pioneer of the Human Side of Business (#humanbiz) movement. He is also a serial business founder and three-time CEO. When not speaking at conferences and corporate functions, Ted advises CEOs on how to become Truly Social Leaders, or “Blue Unicorns” as they put it in A World Gone Social, in order to bring their companies into the Social Age. Ted’s advice: “Change is only scary if it’s happening to you. Instead, bring the change your competitors dread. That is something only a Social Age business leader can accomplish.”

  • Dr. Lisa McCool

    Shouldn’t you source your comments (i.e. Theory x/y)?

  • Mike Henry Sr.

    I’d go one step further, people generally want to do their best as long as they feel it’s in their own best interests. After a while, if they feel the organization has taken more than it has returned, they start to simply look out for themselves. But if I’m limited to 2 options, I’d take #1.


  • Steve Borek

    I’m in camp #1. Though I believe there are certain levels within #1.

    People can bring their A game and create knock your socks off work or their C game and do average work or what’s only required. Enough to keep their jobs. How well your people perform is how well you lead.

    The leader must model the way, inspire a shared vision, enable others to act, encourage, and challenge the process.

  • tjjteacher

    I’m in camp one all the way. Get caught out occasionally but it’s worth it in the long run

  • There’s a more human way to do business.

    In the Social Age, it’s how we engage with customers, collaborators and strategic partners that matters; it’s how we create workplace optimism that sets us apart; it’s how we recruit, retain (and repel) employees that becomes our differentiator. This isn’t a “people first, profits second” movement, but a “profits as a direct result of putting people first” movement.

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