One of the headaches of being a company owner or head is having passive employees. Worse is having reactive employees who murmur behind you when they do not like your decisions. They think they cannot do anything about it since they are just ‘workers’, so they just react.
Nothing is as tiring as leading a big business single-headedly. Especially if your company requires dynamic operations all around, you would really need people who will not only support but help you run the business–not critics. Of course, the bigger an organization is, the more optimistic heads are needed to generate ideas and manage the entire system smoothly.
The Employees You Need
Along with receiving complaints and criticisms, if your workers are merely followers—those who just wait to be told of what to do—you will get burnt-out easily. When your ideas run out, you get sick, or you need to be away for a while, your business will suffer since there is no one to lead and oversee the operations. This is the reason why you need to train your employees to be proactive. This way, you cannot just count on them when you are not available, but your work will be lighter as well since they can function even with less supervision.
If you got passive workers who only wait around for you, or reactive ones who only complain about the management or business process but do not give any better suggestions at all, then check these tips out on how to make your employees proactive at work.
- Encourage everyone to be proactive
The very first thing that you need to do is make it clear to your staff that they have the freedom to be proactive—and you actually need that from them. Many employees have the mindset that since they are just ordinary workers, they do not have the right to voice out there ideas at work. To correct this, from day one, encourage them to share their thoughts about the company and their ideas of how business can be improved. Give them also the liberty to take their own working style. Do not shut them in a box of protocols that could hinder their creativity. For instance, if they like working while listening to music or if they can function better while eating, then let them. As long as their styles do not affect the business and they are not distractions, then do not ban them from your office. Just make sure that your workers do not abuse this privilege. The reason why you need them to feel free is because you want them to be comfortable and come out of their shells.
- Do not ask a ‘yes or no’ question
Whenever you talk to your employees, always make the conversation a real conversation—with interaction. Always give them the chance to speak their mind. Avoid asking questions that are answerable with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. For example: “Do you think we should paint our office blue?” Instead, of asking this way, you can say, “What do you think is the best color to paint our office?” This way, your employees will feel that you value their thoughts and they are really part of the company. Ask questions that will allow them to think and express their opinions. Use this approach whether you are talking with the whole team or even with just a single employee. You can do this not just in formal meetings, but even during casual conversations with them.
- Encourage them to take ownership of their work
For your staff to be proactive in their jobs, encourage them to take ownership of their tasks. Impress to your employees that they are not just responsible for the job, but they have been entrusted with the position because they are the perfect person for it. Once they “own” the job, they will be more eager to participate in brainstorms, come up with new ideas, manage their department, and give their best in what they do. As they are in-charge, give them the liberty to think how their department or work can improve. Of course, at the end they still have to report or ask permission from you before they can implement any decision. They still need your supervision, especially in the beginning when they are still exploring their way around and are prone to mistakes. Just give them enough room to move about in their positions, and do not make them feel that you are watching over their shoulder.
- Assign them leadership tasks
Another way to train your staff to be proactive is by exposing them to leadership. You can do this by assigning them to take over tasks that require a team. For newbies or shy ones, start with small tasks such as organizing an activity or program or conducting a survey. They will learn to coordinate with you, their team mates, and the people who will be involved. Also, they will learn how to plan strategically. By boosting their leadership skills, the initiative of your employees will be developed. Also, they will know how to manage a group. Leadership and managerial skills when combined can result to a worker who does not only know how to delegate tasks and manage people, but also an active initiator who can be depended on.
- Develop their confidence
It takes confidence to be proactive. Unconfident employees are afraid to speak out, participate in company activities and decision-making actively, and handle big tasks without supervision. They have little trust that they can do things right. Therefore, if you want proactive leaders in your company, help your people to be confident first. Providing them personal development trainings is one way to do this. Appreciating and praising them for the jobs done well, asking for their opinions and suggestions, and assigning them small leadership tasks are among other steps that you can do to achieve this. Make them feel valued and soon they will eventually rise up. When they know their worth in the company, they will be motivated to participate in the business actively.
You need proactive leaders—not just ordinary employees—in your team, so that your business can grow fast and strong. With these leaders by your side, you do not have to carry all the company burdens alone anymore. Therefore, as a strategic company head, make sure to boost the force of the business’ human resource. Keep it a goal to develop dynamic leaders and the holistic success of your company will just follow.