Give It Up. Reduce Control

Transitioning People Through Constant Change

Organizations today have to deal with the increasing speed of change and a demotivated and disengaged workforce. 

When we have engaged employees who are able to utilise all of their skills and capabilities fully, we have increased innovation and creativity. When employees are micromanaged, there are poor results and low engagement.

Leadership with a fundamental mindset shift addresses this problem. Leaders need to reduce control and distribute power. They need to give it up. When leaders give it up, other leaders emerge organically based on their ability to utilise their skills and expertise. Decision-making is distributed to the place best suited to make the decision. This is based on knowledge, not a position in the organization.

Innovation, creativity, and experimentation are encouraged while mistakes are tolerated (if not celebrated) as learning opportunities.

Many leaders fear they will lose control if they relinquish control to others. However, even if they accept that they need to give it up and start to relinquish control, there is a tendency to revert back to command and control in times of stress. So while initially allowing employees to innovate, create, and self-manage the leaders then take back control. This sends mixed messages and a sense of lack of trust and respect. This leads to disengagement and attrition.

So in this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world, how do we get leaders to move from a command and control position to one of delegation and trust? How do our leaders become effective coaches for our players?

Give it up Model

The Give it up Model shown here illustrates what needs to happen to move from a command and control position to one of delegation and trust. When we delegate and trust our people to do the right thing, we create an environment of collaboration, motivation, passion, creativity, a sense of purpose, knowledge based leadership, productivity, innovation, and engagement.

We move away from the command and control of manager to the delegation and trust of true leaders. Effective leaders are both a coach and a player and this requires a mindset shift.

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Delegation and trust: don't leave home without it

So what are the benefits of giving it up? When Jim Bush gave up the command and control approach in the customer service operation at American Express, he gave call centre operatives autonomy and ability to make decisions based on customer needs. The results were increased profitability, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction, decreased attrition, and receipt of numerous customer service awards.

Bush achieved this transformation through elements included in the Give it up model. These included clear objectives, guardrails, transparency, and trust.

Game score

Winning teams don’t do great things because they were told to. They have the power to make great things happen. They are free to experiment, create and innovate.

Coming Up

In subsequent posts in this series I will be exploring the additional elements of the Give It Up model.

In the meantime, please subscribe to my posts so you have no fear of missing out!

Karen FerrisComment