Life in the Balance

The stewardship contract is the balancing pole—it keeps us on the middle way between dominance and abdication. We avoid abdication by asking for commitment to the elements of the contract. Our wish for dominance is constrained by our willingness to allow the stewardship contract to define the limits of what we will control. The boss chooses restraint the moment the employee chooses commitment.

The hard part is to confront self-interest and irresponsible actions right away. A certain percentage of people will abuse their freedom, take advantage of a loose structure, or be disruptive with their peers. There is nothing about stewardship that goes easy on this. Sometimes, in the spirit of participation, managers pull back too ...

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