In our previous article, we talked about the toll that meaningless work can have on employees. The stress of doing a meaningless job is enough to shun the best talent from the team which can be a big problem for companies. In order to boost employee engagement at the workplace, an easy way is to first look to eliminate the meaningless work that your team engages in.
David Graeber, a professor at the London School of Economics and author of “Bullshit Jobs: A Theory,” came up with 5 types of meaningless roles that can commonly be found in the workplace.
Types of Leadership Tactics That Help Eliminate BS Jobs
The reality may not be as dire as the one painted by Graeber, while roles may not actually be meaningless, he did shine a light on the times when we had to do meaningless work for the sake of it.
Looking at the 5 roles as stated by Graeber, we’ve boiled down these jobs to its essence and came up with solutions to address the common characteristics of meaningless work. Here are the 3 ways leaders can effectively eliminate meaningless work and boost Employee engagement
1. Promote a Problem Solving Mindset in the Workplace
A common characteristic found in meaningless roles is how little input individuals are encouraged to have. Due to the lack of expectation for them to bring value in problem-solving, employee engagement is lowered as people play the passive role of a deliverer.
To combat this, leaders should encourage their team to have a problem-solving mindset and promote a solution-oriented culture. Being solution-oriented as opposed to problem-oriented means you’re encouraging your team to add value and bring more to the table. Instead of reporting a problem has occurred which renders little value to the process, a solution-oriented mindset is one that attempts to tackle the problem, which provides employees with a greater sense of purpose in their work.
2. Effective Leadership Management Equals Communicating Purpose
In the case of employees who may feel like they are doing meaningless work, it may be due to a lack of understanding in the bigger picture. Therefore, it is the role of the an effective leader to communicate the value and purpose of their work as a means to engage them in their work.
An effective leadership management strategy looks a lot like a mentor-ship where leaders attentively help develop and grow people under their wing. According to a survey by Colorado Technical University, 75% of people agree that mentoring plays a key role in their career. Further to promoting a problem-solving mindset, leadership management means providing employees with vision and practical guidance. By properly communicating the higher purpose of the team and of individuals, employees can aspire to improve and rise above their defined role.
3. Introducing Workplace Flexibility and Constructive Deviance
The truth is in the numbers, workplace flexibility is instrumental to the engagement of employees. An example is in Deloitte’s $41.5 million cost savings alone from retaining employees who would have left if they did not have a flexible work arrangement. In fact, 70% of managers and 87% of employees who reported on “a positive” or “very positive” impact on their productivity was due to a flexible work arrangement.
Allowing for constructive deviance is another way to motivate employees. Subsequent to providing employees with the opportunities and a problem-solving mindset, by giving employees adequate freedom and open work culture to try and experiment, they’re able to solve problems in more effective ways.
For example, instead of completing a task in-house and trying to cram more work into the same number of hours, an alternative way to solve the problem may be to outsource part of the work to professional. This alternative approach to problem-solving is only possible when the company culture is open, allowing employees to think outside the box of company conventions.
The Right Management Tactics for Your Team
When it comes to managing your employees, consider different kinds of management and leadership tactics to bring the best out of your team. Here are 3 effective management styles that encourage employee engagement:
1. Collaborative Management Style
Collaborative managers allow members of the team to focus on bringing individual strengths to the project and encourage participation, innovation and creativity. Members within a team have the opportunity to learn from each other, collaborate, and come up with ideas and solutions to tackle obstacles together.
This style suits business that requires a lot of planning and ideation for projects, it brings out multiple facets of a task or a problem as everyone will have their own opinion or perspective. As a result, a team can find a more well-rounded and balanced decision. However, this may not be the best option in cases of crisis and emergency management where it calls for prompt and immediate decision-making.
2. Democratic Management Style
We all know what democracy means and that is exactly what the manager will facilitate under this management style. Though the manager will retain the power to make the final call, decisions are made based on the input of their employees.
Employees of all levels are given the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process and exchange ideas, recommendations and opinions freely. Feeling valued and having their voices heard, employees are more willing to engage. By encouraging inputs of ideas, the manager is also employees to tap into their problem-solving skills, which eventually help with their own tasks. The downside to this management tactic is that it is prone to fairness issues like favouritism.
3. Laissez-Faire management style
Emphasising on freedom, employees receive little interference in what they do. Laissez-faire managers promote creativity, innovations and experiments. They normally don’t oversee a project during the creation or production process, only providing necessary guidelines and information at the beginning and towards the end of a project or should there be any questions.
The Laissez-Faire style is ideal for teams of highly-skilled professionals who can self-direct and possess a high level of problem-solving skills and autonomy with a need for space and freedom to create.
Best Leadership Tactic is in Hiring “Good People”
At a time when talent is scarce, it is crucial that businesses learn to engage employees in the right way. As depicted by Anthony Tjan, CEO of Boston venture capital firm Cue Ball Group, author of the book “Good People”, a company’s success is predicated on the right talent. The right talent being good people who are defined as “those committed to continuously cultivating the values that help them and others become the fullest possible versions of who they are.”
In truth, it is rarely the case that everyone in the team naturally demonstrates all these characteristics, thus it’s important that as a leader we encourage an environment that guides and motivates people to aspire for greater and perform to the fullest of their potential. Perhaps the best of these would be the constructive rebels who don’t only challenge themselves but also those around them to add value in their work.
Are you looking to find high functioning talent with the ability to inspire others around them? Links is an award-winning recruitment agency specialised in various industries across Asia including Banking and Finance, Sales and Marketing, HR and Administrative services, Temporary and Contracting solutions, and many more. Start building your team now with the right people, connect with one of our people now!
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