We are often asked ‘who is responsible for creating an involved workforce?’
Though there is no simple answer, you certainly can’t leave all the responsibility with your team. As a manager, you need to play a crucial role if you are going to get your team truly involved.
Joan Magretta defines the role of the manager as:
‘a way of achieving goals that add the most value.’ ‘What Management Is’, 2003
At its most basic level, this might simply be the exchange of knowledge between two employees. A manager might bring Steve into a room with Barry because they have knowledge in different areas that may benefit a particular project.
In this capacity, the manager’s role is just to facilitate a meeting, and then step back. Here, good management means recognising the core strengths of each individual and channeling them into the right place. Steve and Barry can then take ownership of the project, inspired by the exchange of ideas.
‘If leadership, then, is about influence, surely any employee can influence their colleagues to change direction?’ Exactly! Just because you don’t have ‘manager’ in your job title doesn’t stop you from managing.
Martin Luther King influenced people to change without exercising any authority to decide anything for them. He inspired and engaged them so that they wanted to make their own change.
Encouraging employees to make strategic decisions and organise their work encourages them to own that work, to engage with it and with others. Let them care for it and be proud of it. Ownership is the key to involvement and engagement.
Rather than telling employees what to do, good managers ask; “what do you think?”
Do you want to be a manager that inspires, engages and empowers your employees? Invite them to share in the management process, and forget industrial-era notions of leadership. Accept that self-management and nurturing the creativity and drive of your employees is the key to managerial success.
If you want to know more about how you can take your management up a notch, please give us a call.