When I was a Human Resources leader, I regularly talked to leaders in the organizations I was working about getting input from their people because the people were the experts on the job and knew things that the average supervisor did not. This was back in the early 80’s! The whole idea of employee involvement was beginning, and we realized that it was advantageous to listen to what our people had to say…or at least some of us leaders did. We always had some supervisors and managers who thought they knew everything and that they were in charge and “by God it’s going to be my way or the highway.” It was a 1950’s style of management.
Now as an employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer, I regularly talk to leaders of organizations I am working with about getting input from their people. Does this sound familiar? Now I do it not only because asking your employees what they think about a problem is not only sound operationally it is HUGE from an employee retention strategies perspective. What amazes me is how many supervisors still think it needs to be “their way.” The only difference is they are smart enough to not say “it’s my way or the highway” because today’s worker would hit the highway rather than put up with some autocratic leader like that.
How hard is it to ask people “what do you think?” Are most leaders so insecure that they still think that they have to be the expert on everything? Do they not realize that with the new generation of workers that they are used to being heard because of how they were raised? Organizations need to give these leaders a good swift kick in the butt to wake them up. If that does not wake them up, the organization needs to find a different role for them or exit them from the organization. Not asking will lead to employees becoming totally disengaged and to more employee turnover. It’s pretty simple.
The old days are long gone. People expect to have input (which is a good thing because they usually have ideas that make us more money) and will not tolerate an autocratic, or at least, an intransigent leader. If you, as a leader, don’t see that or your organization does not see that, your organization will be faced with employee retention issues. Those employee retention issues will threaten your ability to run your operations and to grow. In the next decade, employee retention will even threaten the survival of many organizations. Ask what your people think. It will go a long way in helping to retain them. After all…how hard is that to do?