Drop the controlling leadership style!

Recently, in a Norwegian financial newspaper, modern and effective leadership-styles were discussed, and one style in particular was discouraged. 

Drop control and too many directions. Stress, fear and the feeling of being burnt-out might very well be the consquence if you decide to lead your people that way. Too much structure will feel controlling, professor of organizational psychology Bård Kuvaas at BI (Business Administration school) says.

He goes on to say that too much structure and little care, creates little motivated employees.

- At workplaces with a high level of structure in combination with low levels of care, provides the highest level of unwanted job behaviors, says Kuvaas.

Also communication director Nils Selvik in Administrative Research (AFF), which operates leadership development at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), believes such a leadership style works poorly.

- A controlling style can work if it is simple repetitive tasks, and there are employees who have little knowledge, little education and little autonomy. But when the style is used with employees who have both knowledge, expertise and ability to perform independent tasks, it appears to be counterproductive, he said.

Selvik believes this gives the managers an imaginary control.

- The result will mostly be that the employees are less motivated and hold back their energy and creativity.

What leaders do wrong is that they are not listening to their people, not including the employees at councils, in addition to being controling and giving orders. Simply said, they control their employees far too much, says Kuvaas.

- Many leaders tell their employees that they are bad at their job, and give people an experience of not mastering their work properly. This works very against the purpose of any business, says the BI professor.

Research results furthermore show that this leads to a decline of motivation among employees, and even worse, an increase of personal health problems. It is more likely that factors such as stress, anxiety, burnout, role conflict, and absenteeism in the workplace, will be the result of too strong of a control.

At the other end, when helping the employees to achieve a higher degree of self-determination, they will usually deliver overall better work performance.

- People are working harder because of higher involvement, commitment and dedication that caused a high degree of participation and self-regulation, says Kuvaas.

Important with day-to-day feedback

Good social relations to the boss leads to positive performance and a lot of extra efforts.

- The more support the employee receives from his immediate superior, the more they feel that the organization invests in them. Thus providing the more, saying Kuvaas.

No matter how constructive and positive annual appraisal interview may be, it is not enough, according to the BI professor. Everyday feedback is crucially important.

- There is a problem with these appraisal interviews and system where one submits feedback at more formal meeting places instead of taking it there and then, says Kuvaas.

- This is something everyone should/could/must improve on, and it's not just the managers. Some get feedback from customers, others from colleagues, so this is something everyone needs to think about, he said.

2550 07 04 Photo Shoot at Sethasiri Ngam Wong Waan for PLUS - PIC001


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