wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
search bar left
search bar right

Mary Parker Follett, Dynamic Administration (1941)Mary Parker Follett, Dynamic Administration (1941)


American management writer (pictured right) who was one of the first proponents of employee empowerment.

She died in 1933.


See also...

Mary Parker Follett in the Management Gurus section. 


Book summary


How to make an organization successful 


1. EmpowermentMary Parker Follett, Dynamic Administration (1941)

Power is the capacity to make things happen.

So empowerment:

  • comes from people’s self-motivation.
  • can’t be delegated.
  • means taking responsibility for something people have the authority to do.

 Mary Parker Follett, Dynamic Administration (1941)

2. “Constructive conflict”

This is people finding solutions to their problems through debating their different ideas.

So a leader must be a “leader of leaders”, who:

  • prefers able people who can think for themselves.
  • rewards and encourages constructive criticism and debate.


3. “Integration”

This is finding common interests and purpose after openly resolving people’s differences.

This is the best method of dealing with conflict (not compromise or coercion).


4. “Reciprocal service”Mary Parker Follett, Dynamic Administration (1941)

This means that managers must:

  • serve the community
  • ensure there is a community to serve.

Better employees make for a better society, so:

  • their needs (spiritual and physical) must be satisfied.
  • they must work “for the love of creating something”.


5. “Reciprocal leadership”

This results in leaders and followers:

  • creating solutions in reciprocal (give and take) relationships.
  • achieving a shared vision and purpose. Mary Parker Follett, Dynamic Administration (1941)

Leaders should:

  • do what their followers ask with sincerity.
  • identify the “moment of passing” from one significant event to another.
  • encourage people to take responsibility and become leaders themselves.
  • obey the “law of the situation”, considering all the factors of every situation.


6. Learning

The best way to learn from mistakes is education and training, not blaming others.

 Mary Parker Follett, Dynamic Administration (1941)

7. Increasing employee power and rewards

This results from:

  • profit sharing
  • involvement in decision making. 
  • training and education.


8. Co-ordination

People working together to achieve organizational objectives.

 Mary Parker Follett, Dynamic Administration (1941)

9. Ethics

  • businesses must have a conscience.
  • managers must never sacrifice their ethical ideals.


10. Effective problem solving

Creating a situation that solves a problem.


Key quotes on leadership

The best leader has not followers, but men and women working with him.

The best leader knows how to make his followers actually feel power themselves.

The best leader does not ask people to serve him but the common end.


Key quote on management

People do not like to be ordered even to take a holiday.


Key quote on workers and unions

Capital and labour must fight or unite.


Key quote on training and education

The greatest service the teacher can render the student is to increase his freedom - his free range of activity and thought and his power of control.

Free Newsletter
Enter your name and e-mail address to receive our free newsletter with analysis of business issues and new business books