Are You A Controlling Boss?
Rethinking Your Attitude Could Pay Big Benefits.
by Pat Healey
If you think autonomy is a dirty word, then have I got a four-letter beaut for you: KEEP. As in, if you want to keep your valued employees, you need to allow them as much leeway as possible to plan their days and decide what's the best use of their time. If you're of the micro-manager persuasion, then this will sound like heresy, but the upside of loosening your reigns is enormous. According to studies by the APA (American Psychological Association), giving your employees more control over their work can reduce stress and enhance motivation and growth. Several key findings have prompted employers to search for ways to give team members a greater sense of control, which in turn leads to improved health, productivity and morale.
New research published by Professor Benjamin Amick of the University of Texas, indicates that people stuck in jobs where they have little or no say over how they spend their workdays have a 50% higher risk of premature death, than do people who have some control over their daily activities.
Researchers at Queen's University School of Business in Ontario have concluded that many jobs need to be redesigned to reflect the reality that people don't like to feel controlled. Letting go of some control demonstrates that you trust your team to work well on their own. While employers often believe that job security, fancy titles and salary are what employees value most, often that isn't the case. What most team members want from their bosses is appreciation and trust. What's more, employees who do feel trusted are more likely to meet or exceed goals. They also attest to higher levels of satisfaction and become much more engaged in the mission and success of the company.
How can you begin to unravel your short leashes and establish trust? Try some of these steps:
* Assign team members to participate on a committee where their talents will be valued.
* Involve your team in decision making that affects them .
* Ask them to attend professional association meetings and trade shows.
* Invite them to represent your firm at civic and philanthropic events.
* Encourage employees to contribute ideas for improving products and services--and then acknowledge those ideas.
* Ask whoever submitted a good idea to take charge of implementing it.
* Take a day off without leaving instructions. Don't call in to check up on everyone (but do leave a contact number for questions).
* Allow employees to plan an important function or presentation on their own (subject to your approval, of course), then turn them loose to set it in motion.
* Ask them to do their own employee evaluations which you'll then discuss at regular intervals.
* Gradually increase the responsibilities you assign. In the long run, you'll have more time to grow your business and your health will also improve from less stress.
As I explain in my book, Finding Joy In Your Job, there are a whole range of things you can do to help your employees feel more fulfilled in their work. To show your team your sincere desire to empower them more, consider downloading my free Big Idea Worksheet, a tool to encourage them to contribute valuable new perspectives on your business.
The underlying point in all of this is to increase employee satisfaction and retention. With the shortage of well-qualified people only growing worse each year, every employer needs to make the happiness of his employees a high priority. When team members are given some control over what they do, attitudes soar and turnover drops. If these ideas churn your stomach with fear, then start small--but do start.
Pat Healey is a business owner, the author of Finding Joy In Your Job and a frequent speaker and workshop presenter. Learn more and download his free Personal Values Worksheet you can give to your team at: www.findingjoybook.com .
Pat Healey may be contacted at http://www.findingjoybook.com or firstname.lastname@example.org