It’s not always easy to keep an eye on everything that goes on in your workplace. After all, as the manager, you might find your employees are actively trying to stay out of your way! This doesn’t help you do your job.
Neither does it help them to do theirs more productively. When you manage large teams of people, you might need to approach these challenges in more than one way.
Have you tried to help your employees take more ownership of their jobs?
It doesn’t really matter what style of management you prefer. Nor does it really matter how your employees prefer to be managed. But if they’ve been awarded a job in your business, surely they should take ownership of that?
There are several ways you can help or encourage your team to invest or engage with their job a little more.
Start by giving them the trust and freedom to report their own hours. You don’t need to invest in expensive HR tools, but this tool by Humanity could prove quite useful.
Instead of using up your time and energy checking up on employees, you can now divert your resource to something more productive instead.
In fact, your team could be managing a lot of their own reporting and administration without you having to oversee it or sign it off.
Now you have a bit more time to actively engage your employees. Engagement is low for many businesses, and a lot of employees cite their manager is the reason they hate their job! This can be due to an overbearing approach when you might be on their back all the time instead of letting them get on with it.
Again, give the employee as much ownership of their role as they can. This increased responsibility will be perceived as freedom and trust.
Instead of being the manager that demands and barks, you might prefer to be the one that asks leading questions. Don’t ask “have you done that yet” and expect a yes or no.
Instead, check in with your employee. Draw up the day’s task list together, and ask them to define the deadline (within your required parameters of course) so they feel in control.
Encourage them to share out extra workloads while being receptive to receiving the same from their colleagues.
This steers your workforce or company culture toward teamwork. Everyone is responsible equally for achieving an overall objective or goal. It can be a good way to motivate a team, especially if one or two are feeling a little lackluster in the workplace.
The group mentality might gee up those that aren’t feeling the love for one project by encouraging them to pick up the slack on another. There are, of course, downsides to this. Some workers can start to shy away from the group and leave it to become dysfunctional. This in turns pushes the others to pick up the slack.
Engaging your workers is always a challenge. After all, they’ve got complex lives outside of work that can easily spill over into the office. Is it worth your time and energy getting to know your employees on that level?
Yes and no.
You could help them to build a better work-life balance. This, in turn, might improve your relationship with them. But ultimately, you need to empower your workforce to take care of all the sides of their life.
Mentoring and coaching are very useful approaches for managers to use. You can quickly and easily help your colleagues to develop this function within their own role.
Everyone needs feedback quite regularly. We all need to know we’re performing as expected, and where we can work a little harder. Self-confidence often comes from peer feedback or manager-led appraisals that confirm we’re doing well. This level of engagement can help your entire team become more productive and effective.
It’s never easy to hear that you’ve got it wrong. If your appraisal of an employee is more negative than positive, then you need also to offer a plan of action to fix things.
If you suggest your worker is entirely to blame for poor performance, you’ll leave them fretful and less productive than before. However, if you approach the lack of results as an opportunity to take on specialist training, your employee can then work on their weaker areas.
Additional training can boost confidence and fill in any skills gaps. Chances are your worker will be thrilled that you can fix the things they’ve been worried about for a while.
Strengthening weaknesses is a big motivator too. To give that employee an even bigger boost, ask them to mentor or coach a colleague. Start with tasks that they already excel at.
Then, after training, ask them to teach someone else to do the things they’ve just learned. You are showing trust and faith in that worker to excel and giving them the tools to do it.
Even employees that are yet to perform as well as you would like can take ownership of their learning and development. Encourage them to detail a training program that will fill in all the gaps. Where do they lack confidence?
These are the areas they should seek additional advice and help for. Invite them to talk to you and any other colleague that might help. All employees should take action if they are to fully own their job.
Are Changes Practical?
Of course, some employees might take their ownership a little too far. They might suggest the job needs to change. Perhaps they even talk about different functions or reporting lines?
It’s important to clarify what the job is from the beginning. What your workers are likely talking about is a career progression. Make it clear the job they’re in is the one they need to work on.
Career opportunities are a separate part of their working life and should be managed with the human resources team.
Can you find more ways to help your employees take ownership of their jobs?