I really enjoy reflecting on human conditions, as you might have noticed. A crisis in my school's symphony orchestra made me think about management these days. I have long praised the "F" approach to management as a pragmatic method to increase loyalty among the employees. To cut it short, it makes people want to come to work because they know they have an understanding boss who will appreciate them and help them achieve their potential.
The crisis facing the orchestra, however, is not because the conductor is harsh, incompetent or overly objective. She is anything but. The ENFJ conductor is an extremely gifted musician who happens to love her students (and is good friends with many of them), but one way or the other, we skip practices. She has threatened to "fire" those who skip practices more than a certain amount of absences, but she usually does not have the heart to carry it out. Like the ESTJ drama teacher (often described as her "counterpart"), she is charismatic and competent, but she lacks the intimidation factor. She's way too personal and loving, and doesn't make good her threats. Nobody takes her ultimatum seriously, and she ends up in desperate straits wondering why despite giving this orchestra everything, nobody really cares.
We get into the orchestra based on a meritocracy, true, but an extremely informal one. She judges based on her observation of us during classes (how well we play in classes, tests, etc), and usually, if she knows you're good, you don't have to pass an audition to get in. Luckily, we have a lot of extremely competent musicians in our school, so auditions are rare. If you're not already in the orchestra or if you're not recommended by a member (then she'd audition you), she won't know you, and you basically have no chance of getting in. Before she knew I was good, she didn't let me in without an audition, but after having me in her class, I joined by invitation. What's wrong with our orchestra, therefore, is not incompetence, tyranny, but a lack of an impersonal structure.
We have a lot of "elite" clubs in our school, including National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, International Honor Band, International Honor Orchestra, Varsity Sports, Model United Nation, et cetera. I can't help but notice that members very rarely skip these practices, but are perfectly willing to skip a Symphony Orchestra (that's what it's known as) practice. We're not any less elite. We have played at important events and venues such as the Shanghai World Expo (and the audience loved us) and the Sydney Opera House. In fact, I would argue that we play at a much higher level than International Honor Band, and such. But then we don't have an "Honor" in our name. Nope. And once you're in, it's hard to piss her off so much that she'll hate you enough to boot you. You're in, practically, for life (or until the end of your high school career, whichever comes first).
We don't have a rigorous and competitive audition, nor are we pretentious enough to attach the "Honor" in our name to appear more glamorous (although that might be a good idea). The ENFJ has made the orchestra into a feel-good club instead of an formal structure. What she needs is to be more austere, not more loving. We need to have high publicized auditions, and I'm willing to introduce the idea to her as soon as possible. National Honor Society doesn't do much in our school, yet everyone goes to the meetings because the selection process is competitive and impersonal (doesn't matter if the coordinator knows you and loves you. You're not getting in if you don't meet their standards). It makes people feel like they've accomplished something if they're eligible to join this prestigious but relatively idle lunch picnic (which is essentially what it is), and they know that if they loaf around (such as skipping these meetings), they might get booted. Usually, personal relationships with the coordination won't salvage your place in the club if you do this.
This concludes my treatise on the drawbacks of the "F" style management, which, despite its many merits, have pitfalls. It's just that much easier if you tie your organization to people's egos.