Derek Bishop


Engaging control

Date added: 11th Jun 2014
Category: Employee Engagement

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”  Theodore Roosevelt

Who runs your company?  No, cast aside job titles and hierarchy for a moment and think again, who really runs your company on a day to day basis?  On the face of it it’s a simple question but dig deeper and the answer could reveal some interesting truths about the organisation’s culture and about its level of employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

Let’s look at a few simple scenarios:

  • The micro-manager

The micro manager can’t leave anything alone.  Often proud of ‘running a tight ship’, this individual not only wants everything by the book they also have to approve every action.  The result is that employees either become like automata or so totally disengaged that they might as well not be there.  The business stagnates in a mire of process driven sludge and customers become disenchanted and look elsewhere.

  • The I leave everything to…

Totally opposite to the micro-manager but no less dangerous, the ‘I leave everything to..’ manager thinks that they are creating a culture in which employees are free to make decisions and manager their day to day tasks in the way in which they best think fit.  But because there is such a total lack of leadership, structure and guidance employees are left to flounder.  As a result jobs-worth rules take over, departments become enmeshed in their own little silos and the organisation splinters into a myriad ‘me first’ areas.  Here again employee engagement sinks towards zero and customers leave as the organisation’s reputation fails.

  • The dictator

Beware the dictator.  They may have a strong idea of the direction in which the organisation should be moving but they won’t countenance anything which runs contrary to their vision.  Packing their hierarchy with ‘yes men’ means that orders from the top are seen as edicts to be carried through regardless of the consequences and feedback is filtered through so many layers that the truth never reaches the board.  Failure is not an option in a dictator led organisation.  Once again employee engagement is non-existent and customers get fed up with trying to get answers from individuals who are powerlessly marooned in the bottom trenches of the organisation.

  • The empowerer

Empowerers have a strong vision but they understand the importance of creating the conditions for the vision to be translated into a strong organisation.

…Empowerers don’t micro-manage but they do take the time and care to ensure that every employee understands and buys in to the beliefs and behaviours which define the organisational structure.

…Empowerers don’t wash their hands of every vestige of decision making and direction but they do encourage employees to take actions which will enhance processes, products and customer outcomes within the overall vision.

…Empowerers embrace innovation and accept failure as a learning point.  They challenge and encourage employees to take actions which result in outstanding levels of customer service.  Far from packing the hierarchy with ‘yes men’ and creating silos, empowerers seek to create structures in which employees from all levels of the organisation work together to create strong outcomes.

Organisations which operate within an empowered set of beliefs and behaviours tend to show high levels of employee engagement and of customer satisfaction.  Agile and innovative, they not only react swiftly to changing market conditions they are often the drivers of a changing marketplace.

Who runs the company?  Forget the question, it’s not important. What is important is who is empowered to make decisions, to create great outcomes and to translate the vision into a strong future.

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