We all want to be the ideal manager; motivating employees, being everyone’s friend, communicating positively, etc. But sometimes, when the heat is on and time is of the essence (especially in the service industry) it’s easy to lose our prudence. When it gets a little hectic and deadlines near we might find ourselves micromanaging and barking orders. Yet, this type of management can be very unproductive and demoralizing for your employees. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there as owners or managers. It’s easy fall into the trap of micromanagement. So how can we avoid this tendency?
Maybe what really is happening is that your employees don’t have the same goals for the business as you or maybe they just don’t understand them? You have the unenviable task of trying to get your employees to adopt particular goals; revenue level, sales, repeat customers, etc. If you want to motivate your employees to meet their potential they need to believe in the goals they are pursuing or at least have a choice in how to get there. The most powerful motivation and personal satisfaction comes from goals that we choose for ourselves. When your employees have this sense of autonomy, they will feel more creative and process information more profoundly. They will persevere through times of adversity and achieve more.
Your employees probably don’t have the option to choose their goals and they probably don’t have same intrinsic motivation as you do. But what you can control is how your employees perceive their choices in the workplace. The feeling of choice provides a sense of self-determination, even when the choice is small or illusory. In the service industry, true autonomy on the job can be hard to achieve but the feeling of choice can be created fairly easily.
Give them the “Why.” Frequently, managers tell their employees what they need to do, without explaining why it’s important or how it fits in the big scheme of things. Your employees need to understand why the goal or task they’ve been assigned has value and why it’s important the task is done well. Don’t assume your employees understand all the inner workings of your business.
Let Them Feel Ownership. When you’ve assigned a task, let employees decide how they will complete it. Allowing them to mold their approach to their inclinations and skills will give them a heightened sense of control over the situation, which can only benefit performance. If you are uncomfortable allowing them total freedom in their approach, try giving them two or three options to choose from.
Offer Choices if You Can. If you have to assign both the task and the strategy for completing it, create the feeling of choice by inviting your employees to make decisions about minor aspects of that task. If appropriate, allow them the option of listening to music or a radio program. Maybe the task isn’t dependable on location and it can be done outside in the sun or at a café. If it’s a lunch meeting for example, allow them to order what to eat and the location of the meeting. All of these little choices will add up and give them a sense of independence, which is important to having a happy and productive workforce.
The feeling of choice your employees have is significant in the workplace for motivation, quality of work, and overall morale. Give your employees a choice and see what they can do with their freedom.