You could try my old favorite — “Attila the Hun Management” — but I doubt you’ll get very far. Fear of torture and death typically don’t work well in an office setting. Not that I haven’t wanted to slap a couple of people in an iron maiden before, but it’s probably not the best approach.
(I once had a pitchfork leaning against a wall behind my desk. It was a plastic Halloween prop, but it sent a message!) Anyway, jail doesn’t appeal to me. Plus, imagine the turnover in staff!
So, torture is out. Hhhm…what next?
One of the key ways to be an effective leader is to listen and make decisions.
Listen to Your People
Think of your employees as advisors. Not necessarily all the time; there will be occasions where you don’t need input or don’t want input, and you need to direct what has to be done. But in other cases, there can be a lot of value in asking people, “What do you think?”
This is NOT a committee-system. Committees are the downfall of progress. So let’s not go there.
This is NOT a system where everyone gets an equal vote. Equal voting can work, under some circumstances, but most people need leaders, and you’re the boss, so you’re the leader.
Really listening is key. Not just pretending. If what your people tell you goes in one ear and out the other, everyone is harmed by that; employees will see that and get demoralized and frustrated, and you’ll lose valuable insight and advice.
But listening isn’t enough.
Effective leaders make decisions. That’s what we have to do. Someone has to make the decisions right?
Making clear, definitive decisions is crucial. Wishy washy decisions aren’t decisions, they’re copouts.
Every decision made won’t be the right one or the best one, but they have to be made nonetheless. And if a mistake is made, admit it, adjust to it and move on. Before we can learn from our mistakes and our successes, we have to stand up and say, “Ok, this is what we’re going to do.”
And if a decision is made that goes against the advice/suggestions/ideas of an employee, tell them why. Decisions made in a vacuum with no context or explanation come across as too authoritative.
Really Listen. Then Make a Decision.
Employees will appreciate this model. They get to have their say; have their voices heard and be a part of something bigger than just their own work. If employees feel like you’re really listening, they’ll appreciate the communication and comraderie being created. Then, make a choice. Decide what has to be done based on the input from your employees and then guide them towards executing on your decisions. Employees will appreciate the fortitude with which decisions are made, believing in their leaders ability to move on things, and orchestrate with a steady but not overly firm hand.