Last week we were receiving weather warnings for 24 hrs in advance of an upcoming storm the next day. 15 cm of snow and winds picking up to 50 km/hr. At 8 am, when people would be leaving for work commutes, the snow was already coming down hard and winds were picking up. It was clearly evident by simply looking outside, and checking the forecast, that no one should have been driving.
I spoke to an employee of a business out of town, and by 9:40 am, the employees in this business were all leaving to go back home, after being given "permission". How unfortunate that these people were not given the space to make a judgement call about the weather, and felt they had to risk the roads to go into work. How unfortunate that they were not confident enough in their own decisions. How unfortunate they chose to go in because they felt obligated and felt like they didn't have choice. There were several fatal accidents that morning. How unfortunate that those that lost their lives may have felt this way and were driving into a similar job.
These are precisely the type of things that lead to disengagement and dissatisfaction within an organization.
Why is it important to give employees the space to make good judgement calls?
-Builds trust - they will feel like doing more for a company that puts them first. They won't mind staying late for other projects down the road because they know the company appreciates them, and stands behind them.
-Builds confidence - they will perform better. When people are not given the space to make simple judgement calls, they lose confidence and this affects other areas of their performance. Build their confidence and they step into their own greatness and prove what they are capable of.
What did the snow day example demonstrate to employees?
-The decision makers couldn't make a simple judgement call before everyone risked their lives. This causes distrust.
-The company didn't truly care about their people. This causes resentment.
-Employees lives are not valued over profits. This causes disengagement and destroys company culture.
This is the reality of the message the employees feel in situations like this. They don't feel valued, they become disillusioned and distrust and resent the company.
Giving people the space to make responsible decisions helps them take ownership of those decisions, which builds their leadership, self esteem, confidence and personal responsibility. Respect and trust for the company goes up, it increases their level of happiness and job satisfaction, which leads to higher engagement and more productivity. A true win/win for both the company and the employee, which is how long term successful businesses are built.
Debbie Ruston - Entrepreneur - International Trainer, Visionary Leader