[nrp soundbites] How to empower – Tip #2: Flatten and set clear objectives.

[1 July 2021] Day 31 of nrp* in Malaysia

On this first day of the second half of the year, I share the second tip on how to empower successfully. To make empowerment effective, it’s good to flatten the hierachy. Flat organisations have few or no levels of intermediate management between staff and leaders. This “flattened” hierarchy increases employee involvement through a decentralized decision-making process.

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[nrp soundbites] How to empower – Tip #1: Trust, not fear

[30 June 2021] Day 30 of the nrp* in Malaysia

Hey, you wrote about how important it is to empower people. Can you tell us how to do it?” Someone texted me when he read my previous post.
I agree, it will certainly be more helpful. Since these are soundbites, let me break it down.

The first tip is to look at why there’s room for improvement in your organisation. Not why it is needed — that has already been established yesterday. But what are the stumbling blocks that we need to overcome.

Is there a lack of awareness? Is it because this has always been the way it is done? Or you don’t think your employees are capable enough? You don’t trust them? Or deep down, is there a fear of empowerment? Only you can answer this honestly.

Start by removing these barriers. If you want your employees to go the extra mile, it is not about going out to look for new ones. It’s about creating an environment in which your current employees feel safe to do it.

Stop fearing; Start trusting

I have met managers who fear that when their staff do better, their position will be threaten. So they withhold information and give half-instructions just so that they can look good in comparison. I had one such manager. Each time he gives me a task, he would always make sure it is not complete. So, I will always fail in front of the bigger bosses. But he forgot one thing — I can read. After I realised what was going on, I always did my research and found the missing piece of information.

So what happened to me after awhile? I got better at my work and was given higher responsibilities eventually. What happened to him? He stayed put and continued to complain that his team members are always making mistakes, making him look bad. And he ‘always had to come in to rescue them‘. He certainly looked at them as his competitor. What he didn’t realise was that the bigger bosses looks at the performance of his team as a reflection of his leadership. So, the strategy of tripping your own team members is counter-productive. I feel sad for him. He was a smart person,a very good developer but his fear worked against him.

Then there’s the business owner who feel that once his employees are empowered, they will leave and compete with him. Yes, that happens all the time. It happens whether you do it or not. The only question I have is “Do you prefer to empower them and they leave, or do you prefer that they remain as ineffective and stay?” Some may prefer the latter. It’s totally acceptable if they are happy with their business growth rate and the amount of energy they have to put in themselves. Employees who want to thrive will still leave eventually because the environment will be too stifling for them. Either they will leave to help your competitor or they will start their own business to compete with you.

Here’s one idea for those in this position: Instead of looking at people who leave as competition, look for ways to collaborate. This is how you can turn a win-lose situation into a win-win. My friend’s boss did that — he invested in my friend’s new business.

Start by trusting. It is an investment into the future.

(Read more about empowerment)
(*nrp stands for National Recovery Plan.)
(Feature Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.)

About the Author: Gina Phan is a consultant and trainer with Zinfinity Consulting. She currently conducts courses in workplace performance skills. Click here to contact her, follow her on Facebook or connect with her on Linkedin.

Read her other posts.

#leadership #servantleadership #empower #empowermenttips
#trainergina #ginaphan #gp

[fmco soundbites] Extreme micro-managing

a lot of clocks
[19 June 2021] Day 19 of fmco* in Malaysia

Yesterday, a friend sent me a link to a Facebook post (someone else’s) that talked about how his company micro-manages them now during the lockdowns. I was amazed at the extreme this company went to micro-manage.

The company had installed a screen activity tracker on the computers that are used by the employees. The system sits in the background and tracks if there are any mouse movement or typing activity on the computer. After a certain period, if they detect that there are none, a window will pop up to verify why they have been idle. The system will ask if they are still on the break or if they want to continue working. And the system will screenshot everything that is displayed on the computer. (Alert: this may have broken some privacy laws if personal data was displayed.)

When I wrote about the invisible leader being visible, this is certainly not what I was referring to. LOL!

Why do people micromanage?

Micro-management involves the close supervision of an employee by a manager. The term has a negative connotation because it stems from distrust and does not promote autonomy. Many are clock-watchers as in the case of using the screen tracker.

There are many reasons employers micro-manage their team members. Fear drives many of the behaviors they exhibit. Here are some common reasons why people micro-manage:

  • Loss of control over projects
  • Unskilled employees on team
  • Belief that work deemed superior to their own may make them look inadequate
  • Extreme need for control and domination
  • Poor self-image and insecurities
  • Inexperience in management
Micro-management is damaging

This distrust damages relationships with your staff. According to Brigette Hyacinth, the long term negative effects on the business are:

  1. Decreased productivity
  2. Reduced innovation
  3. Lower morale
  4. High staff turnover

If you think you have a tendency to micro-manage, take time to do self assessment. What is the real fear, deep down? Perhaps, it’s not fear but you need to learn how to teach, not tell.

fmco = Full Movement Control Order

About the Author: Gina Phan is a consultant and trainer with Zinfinity Consulting. She currently conducts courses in workplace performance skills. Click here to contact her, follow her on Facebook or connect with her on Linkedin.

Read her other posts.

#micromanage #micromanager #fear #leadership #management
#trainergina #ginaphan #gp

(Feature Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.)