This is the age when Gen-Yers are coming into management and with their unique experience of a diversified society, social consciousness and healthy respect for others - the time to answer my question with a "Yes" is here.
I started with the title having a colloquial reference to a body part ...but wisely chose against it (this being my first post and all). This question has been lingering in my mind for quite a while and wanted to share my positive view of the world.
Historically, the key tool for management was fear. But my recent experiences both as a program manager and a sub-ordinate to a Senior Director has changed my perspective.
Some of my management practices have been straight-forward, common sense reactions to situations. Here are some of my guiding principles
1. Team Members are by default dedicated and committed to the success of the project. They are not lazy and will do everything in their capacity to make a project work.
2. Every team member is unique and I consider everyone to be a subject matter expert in their own right. So I move discussions in a way that rely on them to be the expert - but at the same time get my points/requirements across.
3. Every project is unique and cannot be blindly adhered to standard practices (ahem ...PMI). I believe the role of a program / project manager to use standards as guidance - but deftly move the project forward and towards success. The analogy I use is that of a wild free flowing river (Project and its team) and manager is like the Dam builder who removes obstacles or puts up structures that allows the river to finally reach its destination as planned.
4. There is a lot to learn from EVERYONE
5. No one is indispensible - including you. So - take politics out of decision making.
All the notes above are lessons learnt from personal experience and mentoring from others including my Sr. Director.
My trust on others of course has not always worked to my benefit and I'll be the first to admit. But in general, I believe that having a role not filled in is much better than filling it with someone who is incompetent or with an inappropriate attitude.
There is no silver bullet to this to problem but in my team, the members don’t get a 4th chance to make a mistake because usually the 3rd time it’s about how that resource is not working out.
Benefits of democratic style of management are almost immediate:
1. Ownership of responsibilities
2. Work does not feel like burden including the extra effort required during critical periods
All this leads to a successful project but most importantly the journey is not stressful.