A common misconception of management is assuming leadership demands control. Controlling your employees prevents them from taking the initiative themselves. When employees require your permission every step of the way, leaders have a difficulty getting anything else done. Controlled employees become anxious, dissatisfied, uncertain, and dependent on you.
Followers, by comparison, are encouraged to take responsibility for mistakes and contributions alike. They are confident, self-reliant representatives of your brand, and will champion your company’s voice. Cultivating followers from employees requires effectively managing the skills of followers to solve problems confidently and independently.
To transform ‘control’ into management focuses on empowering employees to manage themselves (to a certain extent). Break the cycle of dependence and turn your team into productive collaborators with simple, straightforward tactics.
Time And Place
To empower your employees, begin by addressing the practice of hovering. Whether you hover them or they hover you, habitual doubt can be evolved into reliability over time. Following the process below can transform dependency into collaborative confidence:
- Immediate Feedback – Anticipate questions from the start. When delegating new tasks, allow workers to share concerns and ideas in that moment.
- Set Defined Check-In’s – Let them know they can bring up additional thoughts at a planned time and date. In the meantime, express trust in their ability to work around setbacks until then.
- Establish Reporting – Each team member capable of generating regular reports and delivering them to you should do so. Allow them to address concerns through weekly or monthly report presentations if applicable.
This 3-step process encourages employee confidence while also being mindful of the project’s bigger picture. Each member of your team receives the message that they are responsible for themselves, nurturing innovation when faced with obstacles.
In The Loop
A gap exists between management and employees that often impedes trust and discourages otherwise eager followers. Revolutionize the leader-follower dynamic by keeping workers informed and encouraging collaboration to bridge this divide. Followers of all levels can contribute innovative ideas, given the opportunity. Connect employees with easily accessible training and resources, as well as updates about company events. For companies with multiple locations, sharing regional and department-specific data may inspire creative solutions from your followers as well.
Effective leadership motivates followers to overcome apprehension by pushing an individual’s limits. Consider areas where employees feel uncomfortable or inexperienced as potential opportunities for growth. Get to know each person’s firm boundaries though, and respect them. Pushing too far or too often hurts the management-employee relationship, which takes more time to rebuild than to damage.
Make a habit of stepping back once in awhile to let followers come up with more comfortable solutions when their personal boundaries get in the way. Empower them by trusting their problem solving skills, and inspire confidence in the process. Setting your own boundaries, as with restricting questions to meetings, challenges workers to grow and still have support when needed.
Letting go of control requires a lot of faith in your employees, and provides the space for developing independence and innovation. Don’t just assume they are incapable, reinforce their existing abilities and help them build on those skills. Not only will they become a surprisingly creative resource to tap into, but followers also represent the voice -heart and soul- of your brand. Leverage leadership to channel the efforts of your workers to reinforce your brand and increase overall productivity.
- Posted by Gabriella Sannino
- On July 26, 2017