Mindful Team Management and Positive Change

Principles of Empowerment, Teams, and Positive Change

Empowerment in the workplace

Evaluation and empowerment of employees’ professional skills are the main duties of every manager. One usually operates with a whole variety of data when performing those tasks. Normally, these data include reviews, targets, performance metrics, and several other operational tools. The way a manager guides his or her team to a greater extent determines what kind of outcomes this particular company will achieve and how competitive a company will be on the market. A mindful approach to the process of empowerment stimulates the increase in staff productivity and a significant improvement in annual revenues. As Gebauer (2013) points out, such a principle of mindful management as empowerment in the workplace provides the guidelines to build collective organizational capabilities for resilient acting in times of crisis. Naturally, choosing it as the key strategy appears to be a matter of stability and financial growth of an organization.

According to the definition, empowerment is viewed as enabling an individual to think, behave, and act independently or autonomously. As Fernandez and Moldogaziev (2013) highlight, “employee empowerment can be used to improve job satisfaction, organizational commitment, innovativeness, and performance” (p. 492). With this concept applied an employee gets permission to make decisions in the areas he/she controls. Creating a work environment that assists in fostering employees to act in empowered ways is the responsibility of a company’s leadership (Comfort & Franklin, 2014). To successfully foster employees’ empowerment, managers need to focus on such concepts as articulating a clear vision and goals, stimulating personal mastery experiences, modeling, offering support, creating emotional arousal, giving access to information, providing resources, connecting to outcomes, and creating confidence.

The mentioned concepts are known to be closely interrelated with the five dimensions of empowerment: self-efficacy, self-determinism, personal consequence, meaningfulness, and trust. Thus, knowing the effective methods of time management (self-determinism) and believing that no outside obstacles will prevent one from task accomplishment (self-efficacy) can serve as the source of substantial motivation for an employee to continue working in an autonomous mode (Khan, Lederer, & Mirchandani, 2013). This statement makes particular sense when regular praise or encouragement arrives from the staff of managers. However, the intervention of inhibitors into a workflow can have a disruptive impact on the process of empowerment. Many individuals demonstrate their absolute reluctance when offered to take extra responsibility. For them, a dependency is simply the way to remain in a comfort zone.

The cultivation of mindfulness within an organizational setting is claimed to flow faster when one resorts to motivational tactics. It is known that organizations leveraging the empowerment of their employees receive a 50% higher index of customers’ loyalty compared to their competitors (Brummans, Hwang, & Cheong, 2013). When developing an employee empowerment model, managers usually operate with such constituents as an introduction of guidelines, creating a flexible team structure, encouraging open communication, and inspiring employee development. With these principles being applied an organization creates a level of freedom that allows its staff members to start working independently. Also, creating a picture of a bright future and emphasizing employees’ successful behaviors helps them to adapt to the model faster.

Diagnosing Team Development and Building Effective Teams

Eventually, being a company’s manager presupposes managing effective teamwork. As Woodcock (2017) stresses, “teambuilding skills are relevant to all organizations that need to combine individual talents to achieve common goals” (p. 27). For a team’s operation to live up to managers’ expectations, one needs to do a regular diagnostic of the staff performance and stimulate a constant development of personnel. The diagnosing of the team’s work includes such activities as an initial consultation, team members’ online assessment, and follow-up team coaching. The choice of these three principles of performance monitoring is based on the claim that any team represents a system where the sum of the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts (Comfort, & Franklin, 2014). However, for that correlation to be achieved the parts need to be properly ‘tuned,’ i.e., trained by program standards.

When performing an initial consultation, managers usually identify team members and prepare a list of customized questions. Then, an online questionnaire is being introduced, the key task of which is to evaluate each members’ contribution to an overall company’s operation. To conduct a confidential online assessment of all the members, managing staff resorts to a specialized benchmark used to create multiple profiles and process employees’ reports (Gebauer, 2013). If one tracks the lack of knowledge or insufficient skill level a follow-up team coaching is being arranged to raise the productivity of an entire staff. Such measures can be taken 1-2 times a year; a training program may last for as long as a couple of weeks and be combined with working hours. Program attendance is closely monitored by supervisors, who also assess the outcomes and personal achievements of every employee.

Diagnosing team development makes sense only if one operates with all the required assets and possesses enough human resources to promote his or her business. Whenever the need for building a team arises, managers are supposed to comply with several principles assigned to help with forming a coherent and effective command. Deploying a developmental approach is regarded to be the number one principle, which enables teams to learn, practice, and build capacity over some time. Another relevant concept is balancing between structural and relational dynamics. As Arogundade and Arogundade (2015) point out, bad relationships within a team can expose poor structural design and form a community that avoids debate. Thus, neglecting this principle can result in a noticeable decrease in employees’ motivation and the occurrences of a variety of confrontations.

Guidelines for Leading Positive Change

Leading change in a way that encourages the involvement of all members of a team in a workflow is the key factor preconditioning positive outcomes. Leaders who can encourage their team and stakeholders not simply to accept change, but follow an introduced initiative, usually appear to be the most successful (Alagaraja, 2013). However, motivating a company’s staff to get behind an initiative can turn out to be a great challenge. Employees may still express little desire to change their habits and a working model they have got accustomed to. Making them support a new model is often a matter of a company’s high-level competitiveness. For that purpose to be achieved, leaders resort to the three types of motivators (emotional, intellectual, and structural) that guide one’s desire to engage employees in a new model of work organization.

As derived from the name, emotional motivators refer to employees’ emotions that usually serve as leverage to incline a person to accept changes. Alagaraja (2013) points out that individuals’ feelings and emotions are often underestimated when strategic decisions are being made. However, if one succeeds in making a person feel the need for the change, there will be no problems with ideas’ implementation. The same approach is used for addressing an individual’s intellectual side. Convincing employees that a newly introduced model is reasonable and makes sense usually acts as a better motivator compared to a penalty scheme or any other scare tactic. The method leads to more noticeable results if combined with a structural type of motivator. Making peers believe that the change will benefit their incomes and overall working conditions can nudge them to wish for an immediate model’s introduction.

In addition to the above-mentioned motivators, when attempting to mobilize the capabilities of working staff managers need to focus on such factors as unlocking human potential, demonstrating appreciation, fostering positive deviance, and creating well-being. Cameron and Green (2015) highlight in their research that “management is all about delivering on current needs” (p. 3). Unveiling an employee’s potential presupposes investing in a persons’ self-development and focusing attention on one’s strong sides. It is of great importance for an individual to feel appreciated and see that his or her achievements are marked by a company’s leadership. Therefore, creating positive energy and deviance turns out to be the number one task for any organization since a satisfied employee is a high-performance employee. This means that the general well-being of company workers is key to increased productivity and higher revenues.

Framework for Leading Positive Change

Five Skills for Leading Positive Change

According to Cummings and Worley’s (2014) opinion, “the pace of global, economic, and technological development makes change an inevitable feature of organizational life” (p. 21). In modern society, leading to positive change quite often becomes a matter of one’s progressive thinking and ability to make strategically important decisions. However, the successful implementation of a positive change requires operating with several skills every manager needs to familiarize with. It is known that the framework for leading positive change is associated with the five of them: establishing a climate of positivity, creating a readiness for change, articulating a vision of abundance, generating commitment, and institutionalizing positive change. Normally, the first two concepts play a more relevant part when it comes to putting the skills into general practice. Therefore, the following section will closely deal with their analysis.

Establishing a Climate of Positivity

There is a tendency among corporate structures to become more complex as long as companies continue to expand and raise their potential. The need for establishing a positive climate is always critical whenever one speaks of employees’ productivity level and overall satisfaction with the positions they acquire. According to the scholar’s opinion, the presence of the above-mentioned factors evokes organizational processes “that lead to the development of individual and collective change readiness” (Rafferty, Jimmieson, & Armenakis, 2013, p. 128). Those who work for larger organizations know how important it is to work in a positive climate when it comes to coordinating multiple teams. Managers can sometimes be located across several countries, yet, require employees’ reports regularly. In a situation like this positive attitude and an inviting atmosphere appear to be the only means to arrange productive communication, the same as effective cooperation.

When attempting to establish a climate of positivity, the first thing a manager needs to do is to create positive energy networks. According to the researchers’ opinion, individuals can be identified as positive or negative energizers (Cameron & Green, 2015). Depending on the type they belong, people may either boost the potential of others and stimulate their self-development or hold them back and deplete their energy completely. The introduction of a positive working climate is intentionally done to accentuate those qualities that motivate employees to reach higher results. When introducing positive energy networks, one automatically suppresses the occurrences of negativity and poor productivity among staff members. In its turn, it sets the pace for the increased performance of an entire team.

Another aspect to focus attention on is ensuring the climate of compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude. With this principle being applied, employees are viewed as not simply a set of business tools but as human beings having a whole variety of opinions, ideas, and concerns. Listening to the needs of company workers, adequate evaluation of their skills, and showing gratitude for excellently performed tasks are the key duties to guide the manager’s work in his or her day-to-day practice. Using appraisals as the means to motivate employees’ personal and professional growth is regarded as an effective way to raise workers’ competitive spirits (Anderson, 2016). Competition, in this case, serves as an additional motivator for team members to expand a skill level.

Creating Readiness for Change

Organizational readiness for change is the concept that serves as the means to help businesses to set forward and achieve new goals. Normally, the state of readiness is preconditioned by the mindsets, environmental factors, and leadership strategies a company uses to have these goals achieved (Cameron & Green, 2015). The named factors are known to have a direct impact on how successful a change will be whenever it comes to its implementation. Thus, when creating readiness for change within a working community, one needs to consider both external environments and internal conditions for an introduced model to correspond to the motivational needs of every particular organization (Cummings, & Worley, 2014). By examining the state of organizational readiness for change, a manager can precisely define what aspects require more attention for this concept to show better outcomes.

When creating readiness for change a manager is expected to focus on such principles as benchmarking best practices, instituting symbolic events, creating a new language, and overcoming a possible resistance. Best practices benchmarking is an exercise that is recommended for every business aiming at improving its operational efficiency (Anderson, 2016). By comparing the performance of an organization to the highest standards, one gets a clear picture of the shortcomings that require adequate measures to be taken and puts all efforts to overcome the occurring obstacles.

Regarding the institution of symbolic events, the presence of a symbol (a logo, phrase, event, etc.) often serves as an effective motivation to aim at reaching higher results. Symbolic events greatly assist in unveiling one’s full potential and raising a performance level. As an example of a successful event’s implementation, one may bring the reconstruction of a plant belonging to Maulden Mills Industries, which was devastated by fire. The event turned out to be the symbol of human commitment and corporate compassion (Cameron & Green, 2015).

As to creating a new language, the principle presupposes developing a set of communicational rules that would stimulate a faster delivery of data between departments and contribute to a higher performance of every individual in particular. The concept can be viewed as a part of an established corporate culture, which is coordinated and updated by current organizational needs. Regarding the last component of the concept, overcoming resistance involves dealing with all the possible objections of team members and quick resolving of the latter. One should mind that it is normal for people to express concerns. Thus, the ability to uncover a beneficial side of a change turns out to be a matter of keeping the desired level of staff productivity.

Coping with Organizational Change

Every person carrying out managing functions sooner or later finds himself/herself in need of managing organizational change effectively. It often occurs that the process of strategic planning requires an introduction of an improved model of management and total refusal of the existing tactics. For a manager to successfully cope with organizational change, a whole number of principles need to be considered and observed during the introduction of a new behavioral model. Thus, expressing feelings about the future, skipping the unrealistic expectations, acknowledging increased pressure, and protecting leisure time and personal space arrive as the key concepts to guide one’s strategy planning (Cameron & Green, 2015). However, delivering these concepts in a way that does not create resistance from the staff is always a challenge. To overcome it one is supposed to possess a proper level of communicational skills and be ready for open debates.

Creating a clear vision of the future is one of the most relevant factors influencing a person’s perception of changes in the workplace (Cameron & Green, 2015). One can hardly remain motivated if there is no direct evidence a company will continue operation and raising its potential in the days to come. However, a manager should mind that evoking unrealistic expectations within a team can, in the best case, have a temporary effect. Employees should realize that increased pressure will be present in the earlier stages of change implementation. Nevertheless, the further model introduction will allow one to have more leisure time and this fact must be highlighted at the very start.

As an example of a successful coping with organizational change, one can mention the companies that have outsourced software development to India. Such corporations as Wipro and Infosys have currently transformed into global giants and supply their products worldwide (Cummings & Worley, 2014). This level of success was mainly achieved due to significant labor costs reduction, which allowed for the exponential growth of incomes.

Another example is Finish cell phone maker Nokia, a company that is always open to changes. The company leadership finds it appropriate to change the perspective of decision-making periodically. For that task to be fulfilled, they rotate heads of their departments to different posts, thus, allowing them to look at a situation from a fresh perspective (Cummings & Worley, 2014). The method has proven to be effective since the quality of the products Nokia introduces is simply unmatched.

References

Alagaraja, M. (2013). Mobilizing organizational alignment through strategic human resource development. Human Resource Development International, 16(1), 74-93.

Anderson, D. L. (2016). Organization development: The process of leading organizational change. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Arogundade, O. T., & Arogundade, A. B. (2015). Psychological empowerment in the workplace: Implications for employees’ career satisfaction. North American Journal of Psychology, 17(1), 27-36.

Brummans, B. H., Hwang, J. M., & Cheong, P. H. (2013). Mindful authoring through invocation: Leaders’ constitution of a spiritual organization. Management Communication Quarterly, 27(3), 346-372.

Cameron, E., & Green, M. (2015). Making sense of change management: A complete guide to the models, tools and techniques of organizational change. London, UK: Kogan Page Publishers.

Comfort, J., & Franklin, P. (2014). The mindful international manager: How to work effectively across cultures. London, UK: Kogan Page Publishers.

Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G. (2014). Organization development and change. Stamford, CT: Cengage learning.

Fernandez, S., & Moldogaziev, T. (2013). Employee empowerment, employee attitudes, and performance: Testing a causal model. Public Administration Review, 73(3), 490-506.

Gebauer, A. (2013). Mindful organizing as a paradigm to develop managers. Journal of Management Education, 37(2), 203-228.

Khan, S. A., Lederer, A. L., & Mirchandani, D. A. (2013). Top management support, collective mindfulness, and information systems performance. Journal of International Technology and Information Management, 22(1), 1-6.

Rafferty, A. E., Jimmieson, N. L., & Armenakis, A. A. (2013). Change readiness: A multilevel review. Journal of Management, 39(1), 110-135.

Woodcock, M. (2017). Team development manual. New York, NY: Routledge.