The Dependency Cycle: How Managers Create It and How to Avoid It

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Published: September 5, 2014

No one consciously attempts to delay productivity, to stifle talent development, to increase response time for solving problems, or to thwart the morale and motivation of employees. But we have all seen organizations where these things happen, and they are a result of a dependent performance culture. Instead of demonstrating their own initiative, taking personal responsibility, and maximizing their own talent potential, employees “delegate up” situations and problems to the managers above them. Dependency in organizations, with all its problems, may not be intended, but it is the result of flawed management behavior and practices.

While most dependent relationships don’t end in tragedy, they do keep people from living the full, rewarding lives they have the potential to enjoy. The person in a dependent relationship easily acquires low expectations of himself, and his performance often begins to reflect this negative, inner voice. Appropriate management behaviors can develop initiative, trust, and personal responsibility and play a large part in ensuring that performance-hindering "dependency DNA" doesn't take hold in an organization.

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