Does front-line employee participation guarantee success when leading change in an organization?
It depends…if participation is used as a way to manipulate people into getting them to do what you want…not likely!
As an executive leader, how can you create the foundation for true front-line employee participation?
Before we consider this question, I have three questions for you?
- Do your managers see you as a leader who truly believes that you cannot successfully transform your organization without their ideas and suggestions?
- Do your front-line employees see your managers as leaders who truly believe that they cannot successfully transform the organization without their ideas and suggestions?
- Do your front-line employees and managers believe that it’s okay to have differing views?
How can you model the behavior you expect from your managers to foster front-line employee participation?
- Ask your managers for their ideas on the best way to way to facilitate the change you are proposing. You will want to encourage a robust dialogue focused on coming to an understanding between people with different points of view! We all resist change from time to time and managers are no different. What is important to remember is we want to avoid unnecessary mistakes and one of the best ways to do this is to engage others in decisions on how to move forward. I have not met an executive leader yet who had all the best ideas!
How can your managers foster and enable true front-line employee participation?
- Easy…encourage employees to share their ideas on the best way to
facilitate the proposed change. If you were able to gain the respect from your managers that you were truly interested in their ideas, the likelihood increases that they, in turn, will recognize that their success in leading change is dependent on the ideas generated by staff who will put them into practical operation. They will actively seek great ideas from the people who probably have the best ideas for how the change can be implemented.
End of the story…
Fostering a culture of employee participation, both from front-line employees and managers, starts with the executive leader who actively and visibly believes that they can only be successful when they have contributions from everyone. When executives lead the way by creating opportunities for robust dialogue focused on coming to an understanding between people with different points of view, there will be less anxiety, greater acceptance of opposing views and more attention to the implementation of the change!
Yeah for employee participation!