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How Do We Get Managers to Loosen Control Over Employees?

Rather than enabling our employees to innovate, our management tends to stand in their way. They would rather exert tightfisted control over employees. This makes for a work environment that isn't conducive for strategic innovation—we are unable to keep enthusiastic and talented people. How can I persuade management to drop its hierarchical approach so that employees are encouraged to initiate projects that help the company? —Stifled, human resources officer, finance/insurance/real estate, Katmandu, Nepal
May 15, 2012
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Related Topics: Management Skills and Development, Retention, Dear Workforce
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Dear Stifled:

Your bottom-line conclusion is correct: People will leave if management won't let them apply their talents. Even in the current job market, workers are willing to move on if they don't feel appreciated. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that more than 1 million workers voluntarily left jobs in October 2011, the highest number in more than a decade.

Instill a culture that places high priority on employee innovation and responsibility. Start by training your managers to encourage innovative thinking. E-learning provides a cost-effective means to deliver training. Make sure your training materials discuss how to:

  • Create a work setting that permits and encourages team members to make decisions.
  • Provide forums that invite new, innovative ideas for changing work processes and other strategic initiatives.
  • Identify employees who will benefit more from macromanaging versus micromanaging, with techniques to maximize their growth and contributions.
  • Recognize team members who provide independent contributions, in ways that encourage others to do the same.

Understand the role that an innovative culture plays in retention. Have managers apply these skills to build loyal and committed employees who stay around longer and perform better. Remember, employees are more motivated by job achievements than by increased pay, benefits or programs such as "employee appreciation week." Put your employees in position to leave their jobs each day feeling a sense of accomplishment. This requires providing the right tools, coaching and feedback, and giving them the freedom to act on their own.

SOURCE: Dick Finnegan, Retention Institute, Longwood, Florida

LEARN MORE: An earlier Dear Workforce article provides a slightly different take on this topic.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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