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How An Incompetent Manager Motivates Employees

the-trouble-with-dilbert.jpgWhen Dilbert's creator asked us to abuse him in Second Life, perhaps it was his way of letting virtual art imitate life -- because he's definitely taking a beating as a manager right now. Scott Adams has his hands full trying to save his Dublin, California restaurant Stacey's at Waterford, which has lost a lot of business to local chains. While even his employees have noticed his struggle to transition "from mocking idiots to being one," they've identified a valuable strength: he knows his limitations and combines deep trust in them with an instinctive ability to motivate people.

It's interesting that his employees made this observation since he claims he has difficulty pushing people to work harder. Perhaps the lesson here -- as touchy-feely as this may sound -- is to motivate people without trying by being an innovative and inspiring leader. (And Adams' creative ideas, like asking his fans for suggestions, are indeed innovative.) Of course, the lesson will only ring true if Stacey's pulls itself out of its slump. It would certainly be a feel-good story if the inexperienced, arguably incompetent manager reaped rewards simply by being a good guy who works hard and values his staff.

(Trouble with Dilbert image courtesy of Jake of, cc 2.0)

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