“You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
Why do you think some people believe that employees will be more productive when they are controlled?
Well, it is a sad reality that there are a lot of people who will work a little bit harder when they feel they are under the influence or control of someone else. However, you cannot possibly control people all day long and if you try to do that, it will only cause frustration and exhaustion for you because you won’t see the expected results in the long run. There will always be enough opportunities for employees to slack off and do other things if their job doesn’t have any real meaning or purpose for them and if they don’t feel in any connection to you and/or the organization.
Thinking back to my years in the corporate world, I know that I did many things during work hours that I probably shouldn’t have been doing. I surfed the internet, I did things from my personal agenda and many times I lacked drive and initiative.
Why? I was bored. I was not challenged enough and the majority of my managers were so busy with their own agendas that they simply didn’t notice that I was capable of so much more. My brain got stagnant and I started to lose interest in giving my best every single day. Seriously, I don’t think I was an exception, I am just very honest.
Just because we are in the office doesn’t necessarily mean that we are productive. Sometimes I get the feeling when people “work” 10 – 12 hour days it gives them a reason to convince themselves how productive they were.
From my personal experience I know that working less is sometimes more. It’s all about organizing and planning your day and accomplishing your tasks throughout the week to support your long-term goals.
So why do I think it is important to give people their independence on the job when they might misuse our trust? First of all, I really don’t think that they will.
Secondly, I don’t know too many managers who have a regular conversation with their employees about honesty, integrity, character, the expectation of certain behaviours, and the importance of having their 100 % support. Most people don’t know what the expectations of their managers are and if they have the perception that management doesn’t care, they start doing the bare minimum.
On the other hand, management seems to falsely assume that just because employees are getting paid, that they will automatically care enough to give it their all for their company’s success.
Sorry that I have to be the one to break the news to you, but that’s not how it works.
It is about cultivating and inspiring people and not about controlling them. If you want to cultivate your team within your organization, you have to start changing your approach.
Management has to set their own standards high and be aware that they function as a role model to their followers. They have to be aware that their employees are observing their actions and reactions on a daily basis. To be a leader you have to earn the respect of your people and this is only possible if you lead by example.
Believe me, you don’t have to “watch” your people, you only have to have a sincere interest to bring out the best in them.
- Give them your trust and their independence
- Have regular conversations with them
- Treat them as adults and not like little children
- Come from the mindset that you can learn from them
- Let them take initiative and take their ideas to heart
If you put these simple suggestions into practice, you will start to awaken their spirit within.