As much as managers have the power about the direction of their manpower, as much it is important for the employees to have a sensation of control over their own actions.
When an employee changes his behavior and does not feel the impact of his activities, he might conclude that his work does not have any influence on the companies’ direction and success. This is one of the biggest demotivators one can imagine. It completely depletes the purpose of the employee which makes him seem irrelevant and without any purpose. Therefore, it is essential to give all employees this sensation of control to emphasize their significance within the company structure, to make them feel valued and to underline their aspiration for a purpose.
A sense of control can be achieved through various methods that give employees a choice and responsibility. First of all, employees have to know their specific tasks, the steps how they can achieve their goals and the time frame within they have to be fulfilled (see Clear Goals). Within this structure, however, they should be able to define their steps individually to make use of their knowledge and creativity. This gives them control over their work and makes them feel valuable which leads to higher levels of motivation. Then, this sensation of control can be improved by letting them set priorities and deadlines to a certain extent which fits into the time-frame of needed delivery. When the employees can deliver their work successfully within the deadline while setting times and priorities for themselves, they grow their organizational capabilities, portray responsible behavior and become more independent, which might even lead to sparking creativity and developing new ways to solve known problems. Another way to create a sensation of control is to give more choices to employees by integrating them into management decisions that impact the workplace (e.g. new interior design, the lunch menu, flexible working hours etc.).
All of these activities can only be taken when the managers understand the strengths and weaknesses of their workforce and trust their capabilities. This shows that a close connection between managers and employees is essential for effective leadership and enables a shift from hierarchical leadership to a more collaborative approach.