Many businesses operate with a top-down management approach. Yet research shows that many workers — especially those in their 20s and 30s — prefer an empowerment approach to being managed. They want to be in the know. They want to feel connected to a greater purpose. They love the opportunity to use their creativity and collaborate. And they want their ideas to be heard.
Research shows that the empowerment approach can provide a big boost to a company’s bottom line and foster its long-term growth and success. But moving toward an empowerment approach isn’t easy. Many employees of all age groups are accustomed to being told what to do by managers — and exactly how to do it.
One way to help transition employees away from a strict top-down management approach is to help them understand that they have some degree of flexibility in terms of how they approach projects and challenges. Ask members of your team to handle an important project or business challenge, but give them a significant amount of leeway in how it’s addressed. And make sure you are forgiving when an employee has tried their best and their efforts came up short.
Do your employees understand your company’s mission and goals and how they fit into the big picture? Make sure each team member understands his or her role in the company’s continued health and growth. Employees need to know how much impact they individually have on the business they work for.
An informed workforce is vital. Host regular meetings with your team and share with them what’s going on — small developments as well as big-picture ones. Make sure everyone understands the ultimate goal you and they should be striving toward and how each employee is one (very!) important piece of the puzzle.