If you want your employees to take initiative they must have skin in the game. You can do that by letting them take ownership and pride in their work and their decisions.
Rather than giving them very detailed instruction tell them what needs to be done and make them accountable for the results. This is the best way to get things done.
If you are frustrated with the results of your team, here are two questions that you need to ask yourself. First, have you provided them with the tools to succeed? Second, have you clearly communicated the objectives and desired results? You may have you given plenty of detailed directions without explaining reasons and objectives.
The first thing you need to do is let go and empower your team. Instead of giving assignments with specific instructions try something different. Here are two different approaches to giving an employee an assignment.
Let’s say that you have a project the needs to be completed. You could give your employee a complete set of instructions detailing what you want done, how you want it to be done, and specific steps you want taken to get it done. You follow up to see that each step is completed as prescribed. Although it is important to communicate with your employee this type of micromanaging is detrimental to your employee’s progress. He or she is thinking I don’t know the purpose, but this is what the boss wants. I will do as I am told. This stifles creativity and discourages the employee from taking ownership. According to Gallop, one of the major motivators for employees is the belief that their opinions count. Did you ever ask for your employee’s opinion? Well, you would first have to tell them the mission and goal.
Now let’s try another approach. You tell your employee that you have a special project and that you would like her to take charge. You explain the nature and purpose of the project and the goal. You offer suggestions on the process, but you stress that you are looking for her suggestions in the process. Let her know that she may make modifications as she sees fit if the general goals are met. You ask her if she has any question about the goals. You then ask her to come up with her action plan and her intermediate goals for obtaining the project goal. You let her know that you are depending on her for the outcome and she has your support and confidence.
You have engaged your employee in the second approach. She knows that her opinion counts and that you are depending on her. You have given her ownership of the project and you can hold her accountable for results. Empowering your employees encourage them to take ownership and be accountable for their results.
Before you get discouraged with your staff’s performance make sure that your leadership encourages them to take ownership and be accountable.
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