In his new book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker argues that the world is becoming less violent because of an increase in intelligence and education. He demonstrates multiple data points to prove his case that statistically significant adjustments have occurred in human behavior to create more tolerant and humane societies. Other similar studies concur with his conclusions that the world is embracing its better angels.
We can look at the contemporary experience of the workplace to see similar trend lines. You don’t need to watch Mad Men to know that office behavior has changed radically in the last fifty years. Generally, in the past, leaders were more autocratic in decision making, forceful and commanding in managing people, separate and aloof from the larger population of employees, hierarchical in their relationships, insistent on compliance to their views, and indifferent to employee concerns. Managers managed a staff, not a team. And, there was little attention to diverse voices and career development.
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