Decisions at the Top Aren't Well-Received. How Do We Get Execs to Notice?
How do we convince our management that top-down decision-making may be hurting our business? —<i>Indecisive on Decisions, software/services, Worcester, Massachusetts</i>
While taking a flight to a client engagement, I once found myself seated next to a professional-society member who was en route to an industrial psychology conference. We struck up a conversation about workplace motivation, wherein my new friend shared this observation: "Coercion elicits resistance."
In other words, you can't coerce people to agree. Well, not successfully in the long run, anyway.
The case you need to make to management is direct and has business implications. When employees (not just top brass) are involved in decisions that affect them, the more likely they are to accept and support them. Conversely, if they are excluded from the decision process, employees are more likely to feel coerced into supporting a decision they dislike.
If top-level decisions are hurting the business, consider making this point—diplomatically, of course—with your executive management. Request that more people be included in future deliberations, especially when the outcome will affect them. Use data to demonstrate the benefits of involving more people in decisions. Show how the input of additional participants leads to more informed decisions and better business results. Plus, employees are less likely to bemoan a decision they helped to make.
It isn't practical to involve a lot of people in every decision. But trying to include others should boost the odds your employees will be more engaged and supportive of such decisions.
SOURCE: Kevin Herring, Ascent Management Consulting, Oro Valley, Arizona
LEARN MORE: Getting decision-makers to listen is not a panacea. Even among highly engaged workers, roughly half are "at least somewhat leery" of top execs.