Understand Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y, my scores form the BusinessBalls. com test and my 23 years of Military experience, I have to come to see many of these different theories in both supervisors and subordinates. Over the years I have watch many supervisors take both approaches to motivate the Soldiers under them. Some would just sit back and let the mission take care of itself, by making sure that the Soldiers themselves were taken cared off. Others would take over you and watch every part of the puzzle come together or go even further with telling you how to do it, Micro Manage.
Both of which had attributes for being a Theory X and Theory Y to get the mission accomplished. In the Military, I would have to say that most Soldiers at the lower grades are Theory X, being that they do most of the low skill work. I will call them Theory X Soldiers. X Soldiers, come to work with little to no responsibility, they do the simplest takes and have minimal motivation to accomplish them. As these X Solider gain experience and rank they learn to transition to a Theory Y Soldier. A good example was when I was a postal operations clerk.
My responsibility as a Private (X Soldier) was to unload all the mail trucks and sort the mail. The operations supervisor was also of the mind set for a X Soldier, she would stand on the truck and tell us how to move the boxes, how to carry them. Once the mail was moved to the main floor she would then help us sort, but all the time checking to ensure that we sorted the way she did it. She would tell us that if we didn’t do it her way then we were doing it wrong and would have to dump the bags and do it all over again.
The motivation is this was to just follow the way she wanted it done, so that we didn’t have to do it again. Even though her way was time consuming and was not the most proficient way to handle the large volumes we would receive. A year later I was promoted and moved up to the postal window, this was a change, now I was under a leader the truly believed in the Theory Y Soldier. He gave us our instruction for the day, what we need to accomplish and by when. He would then go back to his office and let us do the mission that he had laid out for us.
From time to time he would return to check the status and see if we needed any assistance. Being a Y Soldier has a greater advantage for improvements and feeling like you are a part of something bigger. It is simple to see that in different levels of work each theory has its place. I believe that both can co-exist in one work place. I wasn’t surprise when I totaled the scores for my organization and my personnel score. Both were in the Theory Y category. Most Military organization structures are designed to meet the Theory Y relationship. However, each has a vital role in the success of the Military.