Are Your Employees Being Challenged?

Are Your Employees Being Challenged?

As leaders, we need to challenge our teams to use their minds and their abilities to problem solve; while working towards a shared goal.

Something that I have seen over the years are companies that radically change overnight and start empowering their employees to make decisions and start thinking for themselves. While this sounds good “on paper” because they are challenging the team to use their minds in problem solving situations; that empowerment is actually damaging to the structure of the company.

Why is it damaging?

Employees start thinking on their own, and start creating various ways to improve procedures and company standards. However, instead of a cohesive message to every person; every person has a different message that is disconnected from the rest of the team.

The breakdown of leadership can also happen when employees are empowered to make decisions without the proper training. Employees can sometimes feel the effects of grandeur in their decision making skills when it comes to important and crucial ideas and tasks. Managers, on the other hand, can feel as though their power and control is being taken away from them, and they may “sabotage” the empowerment change to maintain a level of the previous chain of command to keep their roles secure within the structure of that change.

So what is the “right” way to challenge our employees?

Time and respect - Walk the floor and talk with your employees. What challenges do they face on a daily basis? Do you have a clear understanding of obstacles that may be hindering productivity?

Listening - Effective listening, not only shows that you care, but it can highlight areas of improvement that may have been overlooked. Actively listening is the first step in creating an environment of change because the team feels as though they are being heard and their opinion matters.

Teaching - Teaching (or coaching) can be used to develop problem solving skills that are a combination of company standards and employee challenges. Fostering an environment of teamwork, that is fully supported by leadership, which identifies and addresses problems and obstacles within the business structure.

Leadership – The entire leadership team needs to have buy-in. Once the entire organization is fully trained, challenging employees to use their minds and their abilities to problem solve while working towards a common goal will make the management team’s job less hectic, giving them the time to develop their employees and perform necessary daily tasks.

In the end, it comes down to respect. All people want to be respected, and once they feel that from you, they starts building levels of confidence, value, and trust within themselves, within the company, and in within you. With that newfound respect, comes employees that will implement your ideas, and feel open enough to share theirs.


April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.

Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.

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