Getting Your Staff To Think… (Part 2)

Part 2

In Part 1 we started with the hiring process and then went through a simple exercise that can turn around an employee’s attitude to begin using incentive thinking.  We looked at human interactions that may generate ‘dependency behaviour’ and found one or two ways that may work to reverse this attitude.

We also need to consider if any business systems are contributing to that behaviour and there is also an opportunity to introduce a short- medium term strategy.  This strategy can be good for you, your employees and the business.

3 Level of Delegation
This is where a policy or procedure manual is invaluable, especially if it is created before you hire too many employees.  It should have many of the common answers to situations in your business and the likely decisions that need to be made, not withstanding any major exceptions to the rule.  When exceptions arise, then the manual can be updated with fresh information.

Another consideration is to ensure that everyone knows the extent of the decision making permissions in their own role.  Staff may be running to you for answers and permission for this, that and the other because they actually do not know what decisions they are allowed to make.  They may be quite capable of doing so but to some degree do not know that they are actually allowed to do so.

One answer is to this is: Position Descriptions or Duty Statements

Inability to make decisions, whether it be an internal belief of the employee or an imposed restriction from business protocols can be similar to `analysis paralysis’.  This is where nothing happens because we can not make up our mind about something.

It effects customer service when employees do not have the authority to make decisions for everyday situations.  Again, the manual, or another set of specific documents for sales and service should outline what on the spot decisions can be made by an employee (level of authority and delegation).

A business, no matter how large or small it may be, is a network of interconnected and interacting centres of activity.  This means that your business systems and the people operating in it need to have the capacity to function efficiently and productively.  The right knowledge for your employees, especially if it is in writing for all to see, means that less energy is expended on unnecessary questions.

4 Investment in knowledge
Every employee should be given the chance to undertake studies or training in Workplace Leadership, Frontline Management or any practical studies of this type to open their eyes to the bigger picture. This gives them confidence and allows them to see where you are coming from as a manager.

There are many people that continue to work away every day with the attitude that they are just the bottom of the food chain.  There is a sense of being not worthy of knowing as much as their managers or the boss and feel they must defer most of their decisions upward.

Study can help an employee to understand your perspective but a useful advantage is that they can also bring back or generate new ideas for your business.  This is where you let them into your world of management and they begin to understand a lot more.  If you are not afraid, then this is also where you can encourage employees to become smarter than you in the roles and functions that they fulfill in your business.

They will thank you, the business will thank you and you certainly will be thankful.  Your staff will begin to gain enough confidence to contribute to your business.  During and by the end of their study (and if you let them), they will begin approaching you to discuss solutions rather than just bring you problems.

The approaches suggested in Part 1 and 2 have had two aims.  To help us assess if we are hiring people with self-confidence and if not, then helping them to get there as soon as possible.  Then you can get on with what you are doing.