There is increasing evidence that giving people more responsibility for making decisions in their jobs generates greater morale, productivity and commitment.
However, despite the benefits of decentralisation and delegation, a lot of managers find it hard to let go of the reins! They still believe in the traditional command-and-control approach to managing people.
According to research, it is a common cognitive bias to be motivated by the desire for self-enhancement – If you’ve been actively involved in producing something, it’s going to look better for you. On the other hand, something you’ve been less involved in, looks worse!
However, given that the largely ‘millennial’ workforce is averse to being ‘bossed around’ all the time, relinquishing control and breathing easier might actually be your ticket to a more productive workplace!
It might be time to give up on micromanaging, and give some autonomy to your employees!
Benefits Of Loosening The Reins!
Allowing your employees some free rein could actually be good for you! Here are some of the benefits.
1. Greater Overall Well-Being And Higher Levels Of Job Satisfaction
It appears that the key to happiness at work is not money, but autonomy!
According to a study, The more autonomy employees have at work, the more satisfied they are with their jobs and the less likely they are to transfer or leave their positions.
Other studies have shown that personal autonomy at work correlates to lower turnover, higher engagement at work and increased job satisfaction!
Additionally, it has been found that autonomy also has an impact on employee health and longevity.
2. More Creativity At The Workplace
Micromanaging kills creativity and diverse participation. No problem has only one perfect solution, so when management dictates every action and makes every decision, the company is limited.
A team composed of diverse, unique perspectives can share ideas and opinions, collaborating to make the best decision or find the most effective solution.
By refusing to let go of control, you essentially chase away top talent. You retain only a handful of average employees who don’t know how to challenge the status quo and are entirely dependent on one person to make the decision.
According to a study, people were nearly two and a half times more likely to take a job that gave them more autonomy than they were to want a job that gave them more influence!
3. Improved Employee Experience = Better Employer Branding
Allowing employee autonomy gives them a greater sense of value, and they are motivated to learn new skills and take responsibility.
In simpler words, autonomy allows employees to work at being potential ‘leaders’, and contributes to enhanced employee experience.
Great employee experience translates into an exalted reputation for the company, and a strong employer brand. Given the current war for talent, having a great employer brand is crucial for survival!
4. Encouraging A Culture Of Independence
By developing a culture of autonomy, you are effectively creating a culture of independence – where everyone understands their purpose. Every employee uses unique strategies and techniques to meet the greater goals of the company.
Creating a feedback-based and interactive culture, which is crucial when you let go of the reins, is also an excellent way of weeding out the employees you don’t need. An autonomous environment is a challenging one since employees need to be able to think for themselves and be accountable.
The employees who cannot adapt to this might as well be asked to try their luck elsewhere!
A Few Ways To ‘Let Go’…
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can give up micromanaging and give employees their own space!
1. Give Your Employees The Tools… And Get Out Of The Way!
Give your employees the tools and resources they need to reach your goals — and theirs. Training, technology, new faces… whatever it takes. Again, this is about trust, saying, “I’m willing to invest in you and your ideas because I believe you’ll make it worthwhile.”
2. Make Room For Flexible Working Hours And Schedules!
Don’t insist on chaining employees to their desks! By giving them the freedom to exercise their own workflow, you convey that you trust them to make the right choices and encourage them to be accountable for their work.
Remote working is no longer just an idea – most companies are adopting the practice to ensure their employees have a good work-life balance. The improvement in productivity is just one of the many benefits!
3. Reduce The Paperwork!
Bureaucratic restraints can prevent employees from getting their work done.
For example, if an employee must fill out a number of forms and speak with multiple people before getting approval to start a project, that employee might feel discouraged before even starting the process.
Eliminating bureaucratic red tape requires a careful analysis of your operation. Monitor typical practices to identify inefficient and redundant tasks, and ask employees for feedback about how you can help expedite their work. Test the employee suggestions and make them permanent if they work.
4. Develop An Interactive, Feedback-Based Culture!
Instead of the traditional manager-led, formal review, give employees some control back by making reviews a two-way conversation. Forget the yearly review and adopt an ongoing feedback process that both leaders and employees contribute to.
Employees who have proven themselves to be competent and valuable deserve more responsibility.
Granting them increased authority over other employees, for example, introduces them to management scenarios while simultaneously decreasing your workload.
Also, employees’ job satisfaction will increase if they believe that the company is helping them develop their skills and career prospects as opposed to merely exploiting their skills to serve the company’s needs.
5. Offer Training And Development Opportunities
The more skills and abilities your employees have, the more well-equipped they are to deal with their responsibilities.
Offering training programs and other types of professional-growth opportunities will not only improve your employees’ ability to perform, it will also improve their long-term prospects.
As they develop their skills, you’ll be able to entrust them with greater responsibilities, including training other employees.
Additionally, hire the kind of talent that would be able to survive in an autonomous environment – loosening the reins also means ensuring that your workforce is capable of handling the pressure!
Giving up a bit of control can make the workplace more productive, creative and better able to adapt to changes. Just make sure you establish some boundaries… and then… just get out of their way!