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Readiness Recipes

The Y-Theory Manager

October 12, 2012 by Dr. Jon Warner in Readiness Recipes

The Y-Theory Manager

In his book, The Human Side of Enterprise, the management writer, Douglas McGregor suggests that there are two theories about working with employees – Theory X and Theory Y. Under Theory Y, employees are considered by a manager, at least philosophically, to be inherently ambitious, self-motivated and able to exercise self-control. They are also thought to basically enjoy their mental and physical work duties. Given the proper conditions, Theory Y managers take the view that employees will learn to seek out and accept responsibility and to exercise self-direction in accomplishing assigned goals or targets. A Theory Y manager therefore believes that, given the right conditions, most people will want to do well at work and job satisfaction is a strong motivator. Theory Y managers are more likely than Theory X managers to develop the climate of trust with employees that is required for development. This would include managers creating a trusting and open work environment, listening carefully to employees, communicating openly and showing considerable empathy towards individuals.

Ingredients:Readiness Recipes

  • Communication skills
  • Integrity/ethical behavior
  • Listening skills
  • Motivation and commitment
  • Trust and Openness
  • Warmth/empathy

Ingredients should be added, blended well and left to mature over time:

  • Communication skills involves clearly and succinctly describing what needs to be done in simple language and in understandable and appealing ways for every individual and the team as a whole.
  • Integrity/ethical behavior refers to a manager’s relative honesty, integrity and ethical behavior in performing their work tasks and in dealing with other people.
  • Listening skills refers to a manager’s capacity to both hear and understand other people, and to quickly discover their full communication or message.
  • Motivation and commitment is about how well you find creative ways to challenge people to work in collaborative and committed ways towards a target, and help them to overcome hurdles and break through real or perceived barriers.
  • Trust and openness requires having the faith in individuals that they will try their best and meet their promises (within reasonable limits) and being able to tolerate genuine mistakes so that people can learn. It is also about being open and honest in communicating with people in an honest but considerate way at all times.
  • Warmth and empathy involves creating a positive and supportive work climate and demonstrating an understanding of others’ viewpoints and feelings, especially important decisions are taken.
The Y-Theory Manager has all of these ingredients; no substitutions or omissions can be made to the recipe.

“Readiness Recipes” is a new article series exploring 26 different kinds of managers A-Z and the key ingredients that each needs for success. Stay tuned for more recipes and thanks for reading!

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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