Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Boss Employees Around At The Start

Supervisors in retail stores get the most from their employees when they invite the employees to huddle with them in making important decisions. But it’s best for a supervisor to be highly bossy when new.
     This is the conclusion of organizational researchers at Clarkson University. Leaders hired from the outside to oversee an existing team are often granted low status by the direct reports. And new leaders promoted from the ranks can have difficulties changing perceptions from a role of equal authority to one of hierarchical authority.
     Set the course and tell the subordinates what to do, say the researchers. In one study, inexperienced leaders were rated almost 20% higher on effectiveness when directive than when collaborative.
     In a second study, participants were assigned to teams. The team members weren’t told that their leader had been instructed what management style to use. With some of the teams, it was a highly participative style, and with the rest, a highly directive style. For half the participative teams and half the directive teams, the team members were given information designed to convince them to grant the leader high status. The rest of the teams were given information designed to convince the members to doubt the competence of their leader.
     All the rigmarole did prove a point: The low-status leaders who were highly directive rather than participative received higher ratings from the team members on scales of effectiveness. On objective measures, too, the teams with highly directive low-status leaders did better. It wasn’t a large difference—17%—but a 17% difference still can give a retailer’s edge.
      These differences did not appear when the team leader had high status. Supervisors who have established themselves can ask store staff for advice, with it appearing to be a method of collaborative teambuilding. However, if the newbie asks for advice, it escalates the doubts about the supervisor’s competence.
     Even with established leaders, there are times to be bossy. Let’s say something has quickly gone horribly wrong in your retail business. It’s serious enough that you’ve switched from open minds mode—in which you invite creative ideas—or open roads mode—in which you’re moving ahead assertively—to open wounds mode—in which you must take prompt, decisive corrective action. Fulfill the role of the boss. Running a retail store is, at best, a collaborative endeavor, but the organizational chart is not that of a democracy.

Click below for more: 
Ask Customers & Staff for Ideas
Draw Out Advice & Opinions from Shoppers
Bind Yourself to Your Plan

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