The ultimate engagement tip? Let employees hire the boss

Decision-making should be left to those with the most knowledge about a subject, not the most status.

Ragan Insider Content

One of the main problems with the typical manager/employee relationship is that one person is the boss, and the other … well … isn’t. Let’s face it, not many adults like being told what to do. That’s true to some extent even when the boss is really great. It’s especially true when employees don’t have the option to say no, or even to negotiate a mutual agreement.

Information should trump rank

Decision-making should be based not on who has the highest rank and most authority, but who has the best information and greatest knowledge about a subject, regardless of “status.”

Good managers follow that principle as a matter of course, and it’s an integral part of how they tap into employee motivation. But not all managers are that good.

One way organizations try to equalize the balance of power is by using the 360-degree appraisal process. Others elicit employee input through town hall meetings, luncheon roundtables, senior leader blogs, open-door policies and a host of other activities. While well-intentioned and occasionally effective, those efforts are typically pretty feeble in promoting a culture that’s based on the best information rather than the most authority.

Give employees input into the hiring process

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