We Crave Structure, of the Right Kind

We crave structure.

Some of the best companies are renowned for creating structure which enhances the productivity, efficacy and satisfaction of their employees. Structure is of great importance. Without it we have chaos. Of course, having a structure that is overly rigid can decrease employee satisfaction and kill creativity.

A true master of structure, whom I have known, was one of my primary school teachers. Unlike the teachers I had before her, she allowed us some degree of autonomy. We could move about our classroom. We could discuss projects with other students during class hours. However, she taught us to obey her orders to stop moving or talking, when she gave them. And obey we did.

This was different than other teachers who ran their classes in such a way that talking or moving was never an option. We were taught to sit at our desks in silence. We had no freedom of movement during class hours. We were not to speak unless we raised our hands and were given permission. There was not a lot of fun, or positive engagement, in those classrooms.

Later in my school career, I experienced classrooms that were so laxly disciplined that it was virtually impossible to learn anything. That was unpleasant as well.

School exposed me, for the most part, to discipline for the sake of discipline. It did not serve a useful or well thought out end. And when rigid discipline was absent, it usually meant chaos. That was not good either.

The one primary school teacher I mentioned had created a golden mean of structure. She constructed an environment that was balanced. We had to obey rules, but they were there for a reason. We were not arbitrarily disciplined. We had structure, which we liked and worked within, but not so much so that it stifled our creativity and happiness.

There is a lesson in this for companies seeking to create more productive, employee friendly environments.

Image courtesy of [Rawich] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

*Authors note: You might see this column pop up online in a newspaper, under the name Both Sides. I am publishing this column here first at CYInterview.com. For a bunch of years, I have been writing newspaper columns. Since my columns have received a good response on CYInterview, I thought I would share it with you. Hope you enjoy.

You can reach me with your questions and comments at Jay@CYinterview.com Like today’s column? Check back frequently.