Perhaps the most common frustration expressed by people in senior

management positions has to do with employees not taking enough ownership in their roles. They see employees just ‘doing their job,’ and making decisions based solely on policy and procedure manuals, rather than being problem solvers and solution providers.

If you are a manager, and you are looking for your employees to be more proactive, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. There are many people who simply aren’t interested in taking ownership over issues. They prefer a straight-forward job with clear-cut rules and goals that they can follow. If this is not what you’re looking for in an employee, you need to identify this in your hiring process.

2. To foster proactive behaviour and a sense of ownership, it is essential that you build employee trust. Employees need to know that you have confidence in them, and that you will support them whatever the outcome. When they do things right, you have to acknowledge it – to confirm that they are on the right track. They also need to know that if they make a mistake or a poor decision, they will be coached, not punished.

Trust is a remarkably fragile thing, all it takes is one misplaced “What the heck were you thinking?” or “You’ve really made a mess of this!” and that person might never take ownership over a project again.

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