|IN BRIEF: Let's look at this case study as a way of finding out whether your employees feel your door really is open. |
An employee is charged with the task of leading an important conference call. The purpose of this call was to ascertain answers to some key questions, so the company could move forward with their next phase of development.
The employee went through the motions of the call. However, they didn't get answers to some of the key questions. Because of this lack of communication, permits were rejected, causing the company to lose valuable development time.
The problem was that the boss had insisted on participating in the call. Being a very critical person, the boss became upset and demanding at the first sign of a problem. They did not have the ability to distinguish between a true problem and a discussion of issues that could arise during the development process.
Consequently, the employee did not feel comfortable raising issues in which a good discussion could have been very useful.
Are you inadvertently stifling your employees?
Ask yourself whether you:
- Are hypercritical. Sometimes the "dumbest" ideas turn out to be the best ones of all. If you discourage employees by criticising open discussions and "dumb" ideas, you will lose out on some potentially great ideas. In contrast, if you encourage open thinking, you'll be surprised at what your employees can create!
- Always insist on your way of doing things. Why would your employees suggest anything new, if they know that you will reject their ideas in favour of "the way we've (I've) always done it?"
- Become angry or upset easily. Employees will be afraid to suggest new ideas if they fear you will become upset or angry about the idea.
- Often say no to employee ideas. Employees will eventually become discouraged and will stop suggesting things.
If you do find yourself doing any of these things, perhaps it's time to get moving! Challenge yourself to modify your behaviour. Try saying, "yes" to an employee idea. Try giving an employee the freedom and decision-making power to handle a situation himself
You could be surprised at your employees renewed enthusiasm and their contributions.