Return to Empowerment

KeysIn today’s tough environment, it is easy for us to go on lock-down and have leaders dictate to everyone not only what to do but how to do it. I urge all people managers, no matter what level, to resist that urge.

People are disengaged and demotivated enough with their friends and colleagues being let go on a quarterly basis, entire fields drying up, and unemployment benefits running out, without a manager suddenly going “micro” on them.

People are looking for ways to find their motivation in these times so the best way to help your people do that is to treat them the way you always have – with respect, listening to all new ideas whether they can be implemented or not, allowing them to problem-solve on their own without the dark shadow of management looming over their left shoulder.

Try not to commit these mistakes in tough times:

Start requiring ROI on everything I realize we need quick payback periods and we should always try to prove a return on an investment but we need to be reasonable. If we want to make capital investments, then, yes, require that. But, if an employee wants to start a new community or lunch n’ learn group that requires time not hard dollars, what’s the harm in letting them run?

Start requiring weekly activity reports There’s nothing more taxing than weekly activity reports. Try quick weekly status update meetings where people can report but also ask questions. Or, use social software, like a wiki, for quick and easy posts. Don’t make someone complete a complicated Excel spreadsheet when simple and quick will do.

Stop learning opportunities In times like these travel dollars are slashed and conference attendances become non-existent. I do think conferences need to explore more virtual opportunities but they are also providing discounts and even travel vouchers to get people in the door.  Don’t eliminate this!  However, maximize the investment by asking attendees to summarize their findings and report to a larger group what they learned. Ask them to network at conferences to increase potential prospects for your business. And, definitely, sign up for free webinars whenever possible.

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