Mary Parker Follett, writer, social worker, political theorist and organizational consultant, has been called "the woman who invented management." Her early influence on modern management theory has, in fact, been so pervasive that management theorist Warren Bennis has been quoted as saying of her, "Just about everything written today about leadership and organizations comes from Mary Parker Follett's writings and lectures."
Follett never managed a for-profit enterprise herself, yet her keen insight into the dynamics of organizations and groups gave her theories widespread appeal. She advocated a "pull" rather than "push" approach to employee motivation, differentiated between "power over" and "power with," and postulated insightful ideas on negotiation, conflict resolution and power sharing which helped shape modern management theory. The Mary Parker Follett Theory of Management is marked by such principles as the following:
1. Conflict resolution through Integration (i.e., identifying and meeting each party's underlying and often compatible need, as opposed to attempting to meet the frequently-incompatible expressed desire of each) often results in a win-win situation.
2. In Mary Parker Follett leadership theory, genuine power is not "coercive" ("power over") but "coactive" ("power with").
3. True leaders, according to Follett's theory, "create group power, rather than expressing personal power."
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- Consider the many benefits of putting Follett's management theory to work for your business. If you decide to use it, why not go all out and practice it in all the areas it can effectively address: your own leadership of the company, your managers' leadership development and your employees' empowerment.