Have you ever been in a situation where you are focused on an important project but are then interrupted by someone on your team requesting information needed to do their job? If so, you likely send the information needed and then try to refocus on what you were doing.
Unfortunately, just a few minutes later, a team member may message you and request your help to make a small decision about what they are doing. Before you know it, it is lunchtime, and all you have managed to do is help put out fires for other team members.
If you have ever been in this type of situation, you aren't alone.
According to a recent study, dealing with employee independence problems is not uncommon. There are so many managers who have to deal with over-reliant employees who rely on management to solve the smallest issues or make decisions they should handle on their own.
Employees who are overly reliant on management are not only causing frustration and stress, but they can also reduce productivity across the board. They have to talk out every issue – even if they should install solar panels for home or install a new security system – which has nothing to do with the existing project or work in general.
Now is the time for you to begin encouraging a higher level of employee independence. Some tips to help with this can be found below.
Make Sure Your Team Understands their Role and Your Expectations
When it comes to management effectiveness, only about 50% of all employees believe their managers have set sufficient performance expectations. If this happens, it is just asking for issues.
If your team does not understand what their specific responsibilities are or how their performance is going to be evaluated, they are likely to seek approval and feedback on every decision they make – regardless of how small or insignificant it may seem.
Make sure that your team understands what you expect from them and what they should take ownership of. If some projects are a higher priority than others, be sure your team knows this and how they are crucial to its goals. This is going to ensure the right mix of freedom and structure is not only created but understood.
Put an Emphasis on Overall Goals Instead of Strategies or Tactics
In some situations, workers become too reliant on managers because this is how they were trained. If you constantly must tell your staff what they need to be doing instead of what you would like to see them achieve, they will make it a habit to seek your approval before they act on anything.
Sometimes, a dose of humility may help deal with this issue. Understand that your way is not the only or best way available. A better option is to set specific goals for your team that align with your organization's strategic objectives. Also, make sure that your employees know they have the creative freedom to explore new and innovative ways to achieve the set goals.
Schedule Check-Ins with Your Team Regularly
When you take time to meet with your team regularly, you can prevent the possibility of random disruptions. Even though you want to encourage your team to make decisions on their own, there are sometimes instances when they need some guidance to avoid any issues that may negatively impact their success.
If you schedule one-on-one time with your employees, you can discuss all types of non-urgent issues. This will also help you avoid being blindsided by issues that team members may be dealing with.
Getting the Best Results from Your Self-Sufficient Team
When it comes time to build a team that can make small decisions on their own, it will eventually result in more productivity. This is something that every business can benefit from, so be sure to keep this in mind as you move forward with new projects.