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Maximize your team’s ownership

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

The best managers motivate employees by giving them ownership over their jobs.

You cannot demand that people own their jobs. Instead, you must provide a link between individual effort and a greater good.

Employees who exert control over their work develop stronger ownership. Just as drivers who own their cars wash them and maintain them with care—as opposed to renters who rarely take pride in their vehicle—individuals who enjoy autonomy in their jobs tend to exhibit more energy and commitment.

Here’s how to maximize your team’s ownership:

Support their success rather than demand it. Get in the habit of asking, “How can I help you succeed?” Check whether everyone has the tools and resources they need. Offer to remove bureaucratic obstacles or modify pro­­cedures so that employees can boost their productivity.

Exert your authority judiciously. Step back so that team members can control their environment as much as possible. Don’t tell people how to organize their workspace or allocate every hour of their day.

Welcome feedback. Acknowledge that valuable ideas arise from all corners of the organization. Solicit input from everyone through a variety of channels. You’ll motivate employees more effectively if you praise them whenever they come to you with a money- or time-­saving proposal.

Make a business case for your request rather than barking orders and expecting compliance. When you delegate, start by saying, “Here’s an opportunity to help us beat back competitors and operate more efficiently.” That sets the context and sparks excitement, which works better than abruptly instructing someone to “do this now or else.”

— Adapted from “Why employees are not highly motivated and committed,” Bennet Simonton, www.bensimonton.com.

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