Giving Your Employees Their Independence This July
Even though hiring managers often seek out candidates who are self-starters and can be trusted to work independently, it is not unusual for capable employees to feel stifled and micromanaged by “helicopter managers”. It is important to address concerns regarding the lack of employee autonomy as they can quickly lead to low job satisfaction, decreased productivity and high turnover. While addressing these issues, consider giving your employees more freedom as a way to keep office morale and productivity high. The 4th of July is a time for our country to celebrate its independence, so what better time than this week to start giving your employees more independence and granting them more autonomy in the workplace?
This Independence Day, start using the following pointers to help your employees build confidence in their career and gain independence at work.
Utilize employee strengths: If you find yourself constantly hovering over your employees, and find it difficult to relinquish control over projects, take some time to uncover their strengths. Having an acute awareness of each employee’s strengths will allow you to assign roles with confidence that they can succeed with limited intervention from management. Not only will you be more comfortable giving them independence in areas that they excel in, but you will also increase office morale by making them feel confident in their abilities.
Set boundaries: Allowing employees freedom in how they complete tasks is important for morale; however, there is a limit to the amount of autonomy that employees should have. As you give your employees more freedom, don’t forget to set boundaries to ensure that tasks and projects don’t veer off track. In addition to discussing how often they need to report to you, also communicate clear expectations and goals with them. By assisting your employees with setting goals, you can create parameters for projects while allowing them some room to tailor the way that they problem solve and reach the goals that you set together.
Build trust: It takes a great deal of trust in your employees to encourage independence in the workplace. Although a foundation of trust is typically formed during the hiring process, when you put your trust in a candidate to successfully perform in the role they were hired for, there are ways to build mutual trust with your employees over time. By giving them space to work without being micromanaged, you are showing them that you trust their capabilities. In addition to trusting them to complete projects and tasks correctly and on time, they need to be able to trust that you will be there to help them should they need you. Listen to their needs to gauge their level of comfort with completing tasks independently, and they will trust you to step in when needed.
Provide tools for success: Part of creating autonomy is allowing employees to take ownership of their work while providing them with the necessary tools for success. Rather than assigning them a project and assuming that they won’t need additional assistance, provide them with the technology, contacts and training that they may find useful.
As you start giving your employees more freedom, remember that the transition will take time (especially if your management style hasn’t allowed much independence in the past). Since it is unrealistic for this process to happen overnight, gradually give employees more freedom until you reach a level of autonomy that everyone is comfortable with. Throughout the process, keep the lines of communication open and watch office morale increase!