We all know that the way we work has changed. But what do you do about it? Is this an opportunity for your company or a threat? The answer is both, but more importantly it’s an opportunity to empower your team.
But how can you empower your team if they don’t trust you? And how can they trust you if they don’t believe in themselves? Ultimately, giving up command and control may not be easy but it will definitely pay off!
Command and control
No one said it was easy being a manager. Even though you probably had some experience running things in high school, your new role as the leader of your team or department is quite different from having friends whose parents worked for the same company. You’ll need to know how to set expectations, motivate people, solve problems and make decisions—all while keeping up with changing business conditions.
Now let’s get into what makes a good leader:
- Be clear about what you want done
- Set the standard for quality and performance
- Ask questions when you don’t understand something
Engage and empower
Engaging and empowering your team is a great way to get the best out of them. It also helps you build trust, which can help you solve problems together more effectively.
- Give your team freedom to solve their own problems
- Give your team ownership over their work
- Provide the tools and resources needed for success
- Support your team through development opportunities, guidance and feedback
Beyond the structure
It’s not just about the structure of your team that needs to change. You must also be able to trust yourself and your organisation, and trust that you’re all working towards a common goal. As well as this, you need to be able to trust the client who is paying the bills – they don’t want their content written badly!
Bringing together a team of people to work on something is complicated. Some approaches produce better results than others.
There are two approaches to bringing together a team of people to work on something. One is the command and control approach, which involves telling everyone exactly what they need to do and when they need to do it. The other is the engage and empower approach, which involves letting employees make their own decisions about how best to accomplish tasks.
With these different approaches come different levels of success. When you’re working with a small group of people who have similar goals in mind or have already worked together before, it makes sense for someone at the top level (like a boss or manager) to tell them what needs doing, when it needs doing, and how it needs getting done. That’s because those kinds of groups can easily communicate ideas with each other without having too much confusion around expectations on specific tasks or responsibilities within the project as a whole. They know what everyone else does so there aren’t any surprises along the way—and if there are surprises then those are quickly addressed by whoever is overseeing everything from above instead from below where there might be more problems due simply because no one knew anything about them until after something happened. This type of situation works well if all parties involved trust each other enough that they won’t try tricking one another into doing something differently than originally agreed upon.
Command and control is the traditional approach to managing people where managers have the power to tell people what to do and how to do it.
As a manager, you have to make decisions. You also need to delegate and schedule tasks, which means you have to be able to manage your time effectively. And because, as a manager, you’re responsible for the performance of your team members and their output, it’s important that you can manage emotions as well (even if these aren’t the same emotions that come with being an employee).
Commanding and controlling is still relevant, but it is no longer sufficient in today’s world where empowered employees are thriving.
You might think that an article about command and control versus engagement would be all about how the latter is better than the former. After all, wouldn’t you rather work for a leader who empowers you to do amazing things than one who merely tells you what to do?
The truth is that both ways of leading have their place in this world, but what we’re seeing today is that empowered employees are thriving more than ever before. They’re happier and more productive as well as innovative and creative—all things that lead to better business outcomes.
Engage and empower is the approach which gives employees the freedom to solve problems.
Engaging employees is a win-win for everyone. Your employees will be more engaged, take ownership of their work and feel empowered to make decisions that are best for the organisation. In turn, you’ll get better results from them — they’re more productive and happier in their jobs. Because they feel like they have control over their lives at work (and home), they are also more loyal to your company.
The way people want to work has changed.
Brexit, COVID, the economy. There are plenty of reasons why people don’t like their jobs, including work that is too repetitive and uniform. But one of the biggest reasons that people dislike their jobs is still coming down to the way they people are managed.
It’s not just about managers being more engaged with their employees; it’s also about employees wanting to be more engaged in their work—and in life.
In an age where technology allows us to connect with each other around the world instantly, why do we spend so much time monotonously doing management in traditional command and control shapes?
People want this type of workplace environment because, let’s face facts, it’s a whole lot more fun.
People want this type of workplace environment because, let’s face facts, it’s a whole lot more fun. You’ve got more control over your work and how you do it. When you’re empowered to be creative and responsible for your own success, the joy in what you do becomes self-evident. There’s no doubt that a feeling of reward and accomplishment is motivating; when people are working together toward shared goals, they become more productive as well as efficient.
We need a different structure for our companies.
The workplace of the future is different than the workplace of today. Instead of being an environment where you’re expected to show up and do as you’re told, it’s one in which you have flexibility and trust.
First and foremost, this means that employers need to let go. They can’t micromanage every employee; instead, they should give employees the freedom to solve problems on their own terms—the same way managers used to do back when we gave them a salary instead of putting them on commission.
If all goes well, this strategy will result in a workplace culture that’s more inclusive and collaborative than ever before: a place where people feel empowered by their work and are encouraged by their superiors not just because they want their company values reflected back at them but because doing so benefits both parties equally!
It takes confidence in your team and yourself to make this kind of change.
You can only do this if you have confidence in yourself, your team and the new structure. I’ll talk about how to get there in a minute, but first let me tell you more about the differences between commanding and engaging.
You’re probably already familiar with command-and-control organisations: they dictate processes from the top down, require rigid adherence to process and procedure, and value predictability over speed or quality. The opposite of this is an organisation that embraces change and encourages experimentation; where employees are empowered by their leaders; where everyone knows what success looks like for them personally as well as for the business overall; where people aren’t required to follow rules blindly but instead are given autonomy so long as they stay on track with their goals. This style of management is known as “servant leadership.”
You can only empower your team if you trust them.
You might be thinking: “I trust my people, so I don’t have to worry about this.” But trust isn’t a one-way street. It’s more like a two-way street: you give your trust and they give their trust to you in return.
Can you imagine how much more effective your team would be if they could take risks without fear of failure because they know that if things go wrong, it won’t be their fault? If there was no need for secrecy or backstabbing because everyone is working together and supporting each other as part of a larger vision? That kind of environment makes it easier for people to learn from each other and improve processes as well as their own performance individually.
Ultimately this is the way to get from command and control to a new more enjoyable way of managing.
So, if you’re looking for a way to make your organisation more engaging and empowering, here are some things to keep in mind.
- First of all, you can only do this if you trust your employees.
- Second thing: it’s not enough just to give people freedom and responsibility—you also have to tell them what goals they should be working toward.
- Thirdly: let go of the idea that all these people will always work together perfectly harmoniously; there will be conflict sometimes!
- But fourthly: by engaging with your team members individually rather than just telling them what they need to do, you’ll find that conflict doesn’t last long because everyone works together better when they feel heard instead of being ignored or reprimanded by management sitting behind their desks all day long.