Who´s the Boss? A Tale of Cops and Cheerleaders…

Cop CostumeOk, whatever you think…the title is not the tag line for some special interest porn flick. It’s about leadership. Precisely, COP and CHEERleader are acronyms that I stumbled upon yesterday in an article by the name of Forty things every Manager should know about Coaching. They define two antagonistic frameworks of leadership, and ultimately, underlying views of the nature of man.

COP stands for “Coerce – Organize – Punish”. Basically, it describes what effective leadership was thought to be for most of the 20th century (and the eons before that…). You can still “smell” a lot of Taylor´s “Scientific Management” in there. What is says between the lines: People are inherently lazy and incapable. That´s why the leader has to motivate his “followers” using external rewards and punishment to get the desired results. And above that, there´s one person that knows which form of organizing the tasks at hand is the best: the leader – and no one else.

On the other end of the spectrum, CHEERleader stands for Challenge – Empower – Encourage – Reinforce. It´s based on the assumption that people are intrinsically motivated (please read my article on Self-Determination Theory for a little background information), capable or organizing themselves (alone as well as in groups), and eager to learn, grow, and achieve – in short: that people are grown-up individuals capable of deciding what´s best for themselves as well as the companies they work for.

What do you think of this?


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