A manager needs to use as many methods as possible to involve the team in decision making and planning. Communication channels need to be kept open and flexible, so that the team can voice their opinions and the manager can give and seek information, ideas and feedback.
Methods will vary according to the type of team and the work environment. Ideally this open communication should be both formal and informal.
Benefits of involving the team
When a manager makes opportunities for the team to contribute to the planning and decision making process, this will enhance team morale and productivity. When the team contributes to the development of a plan they are more likely to “take ownership” of the plan’s success.
Involving the team in decision making empowers the team and demonstrates that they are valued. It helps to focus on goals rather than day to day tasks. Teams who are empowered in this way tend to be more open to change, innovative and creative.
On a practical level, the decision itself is also likely to be better than the manager would have made without team input. The manager has a “big picture” focus and can lose sight of the details which need to be taken into account. Members of the team may be specialists in a particular area – whereas the manager should be a specialist in management. They may raise technical or operational issues that need to be taken into account when making the decision.
Disadvantages of not involving the team
If a manager “imposes decisions from above” then the team will not feel valued or empowered. In effect, this approach implies that the team’s opinions are not worth having. As a result, team members can become apathetic and treat their job as a chore in order to make a living. They will lose focus on goals because they have no power to influence outcomes. Instead they will focus on the day to day routine tasks and have difficulty prioritising their work. Often in such cases the highest priority becomes being seen to be busy.
In the worst case scenario this can lead to a culture of apathy and significant reduction in productivity. Workers who possess initiative and wish to take pride in their work can become frustrated at their inability to contribute to meaningful outcomes and as a result they may resign. Workers who lack initiative and are less productive are likely to remain. In the long run, the majority of the team will be the less productive workers without initiative.
Written by Sandy Welton: https://trainingresourcesrto.com.au/
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