Most people complain about the rather morose economic situation that we seem to be living in. It is apparent from what Frizell (2014) of Time Magazine has to say that previous, mostly, micromanagerial practices have not been able to resolve these issues. Instead they have only contributed to the deepening of the rift between the “haves” and the “have nots”.
One might be tempted to argue that it has raised the levels of entrepreneurship in the world, but that is far from the truth when one realises that bankruptcies have risen almost proportionally with the creation of entrepreneurial organisations across the world. That, in turn, undoubtedly has it’s adverse effects on the individuals, society and economy alike.
Pat Owings (2014) in the article Empowering versus Victimising Your Employees underlines the necessity of getting to know your employees and giving them the opportunity to show that they are just as sincere as any other person.
The other day, I heard a speech given about the cultural differences between Parisians and Berliner based on their respective subterranean public transport systems. From the manner in which the speaker delivered his speech, he seemed to suggest that their behaviours were induced by the systems. The Parisian system funnelled their commuters into buying tickets and checked them almost every step of the way, making sure that they would find creative ways in which they would circumvent having to buy a valid ticket.
Berliners, on the other hand, allow their commuters to freely access their preferred means of transport by empowering them and and carry out random checks.
The result: 10% of Parisian commuters find creative ways in which they freeload the RATP metro system whereas only 3% of the commuters don’t buy their BVG tickets metro.
So what do we learn from it? Simply that if employers allow their employees a little bit of leeway in terms of letting them initiate a thought process, it will end up serving the entire organisation’s cause in the longer run. What needs to be said here is that the initiative should not be given to them on one day and taken away the next. Just like the 10% of public transports commuters in Paris and the 3% in Berlin, there will always be those who will try to draw personal benefit from such initiatives and any others that the management will enforce. My question is: why does the management then concentrate on the minorities and ignore the majorities? Why ignore the bigger, better fruits rather than looking to save the peanuts?
Owing (2014) suggests:
– considering the team members’ and even co-workers’ personalities;
– being appreciative of our peers’ and subordinates’ work;
– having realistic expectations;
– encouraging independent decision-making;
– encouraging team work rather than mutual competition.
Shankar, Chief People Officer at Mindtree, in Goswami Bhattacharya’s article (2014) points out, “We want our employees to know that we trust them. We believe that our employees are sensible and responsible enough not to misuse the power given to them.”
The trust mentioned by Shankar can be implemented by means of the Owing’s suggestions above. This brings with itself the sense of responsibility amongst all co-workers, who regard each other with respect – not for their position, but for their collaborative action in ensuring that the organisation takes on an elevated path whereby it’s operational efficiency and efficacy both get a much required boost in today’s rather inactive economic mood that seems to have prevailed long enough.
It is high time profit making through employee empowerment came to the fore and replaced micromanagerial practices in the economic world of today. Especially with all the disasters that those practices of yesteryear have exposed us to.