Employees need courage, space and clarity, though
Who wants to profit from ideas made by the team or team members, should not wait and hope but proceed proactively: 1. Establish an environment where employees can articulate themselves fearlessly and 2. Support ideas and consider them seriously. Otherwise the staff still – according to a recently published academic survey article from the US – is overly reticent. They still calculate with negative consequences, even where actually not reason for worry is necessary. And they still anticipate it will not pay off anyway. Therefore enormous amounts of potential are staying unused furtheron.
The scientists recommend urgently to focus on managerial trainings how to set up and steer opinion building and decision processes in teams. Additionally, they continue, any organisation is well off in hiring only those superiors who are capable to build trustworthy relationships between themselves and their teams.
Perspectives on employee voice: A primer for managers. Butler/Whiting. In: The Psychologist-Manager Journal, vol. 22 (3-4), Aug-Nov.2019, 154-167.
From the practice:
No modern leader dares to take innovative ideas of employees into question basically. Without convincing the staff regularly, though, that you and your organisation really really really do want to hear what people think, it still does not work yet.
So what can you do exactly? 1. Talk offensively about your serious interest in ideas, suggestions and opinions – and do this again and again at any given occasion, not only once. Talking is here the key to success, don´t email and think you are off duty. 2. Provide space by reserving a fixed time slot for collecting ideas (and don´t bring across this only takes place if everything else has taken less time than scheduled) – either within your meetings or in setting up a venue for that on its own. 3. Accept only ideas for solutions, not further descriptions of the problem. 4. Communicate in advance what you will do when with all the ideas – this is to demonstrate that it is not due to your personal taste or simple arbitrariness if ideas are followed up or not. Mention limitating factors now and not later. Nobody likes to bring up anything which might go bad in your drawer or is not feasible from the start.