In a nutshell . . .
A vast and growing body of evidence and experience shows that employees are more productive, healthier and help their customers and colleagues more effectively when they are trusted to use their judgement, and when they have opportunities to learn and develop by facing new challenges in their day-to-day work.
Jobs which empower people to make decisions about how they work help people to manage pressure and to perform more effectively with less stress.
The importance of working in a collaborative team environment is also supported by substantial evidence. Empowered, self-organised teams are a basic building block, creating workplaces in which people collaborate effectively, share knowledge and problems, break down barriers, and generate ideas for improvement, innovation and growth using insights that day-to-day work experiences bring.
We also have choices in the ways we design, select, introduce and use technologies, whether in the office or the factory. Technologies can have a significant impact on job design and teamwork, either by empowering, upskilling and broadening the scope of people’s jobs, or by deskilling and confining them to ever narrower and more specialised roles.
Good job design, teamworking and the integration of technologies also address several areas of concern to many organisations. Please think about your team or organisation and score the following issues (1 = No Problem; 10 = Severe Problem):[progressally_quiz]
The underlying principle here is trust. People tend to thrive when they are trusted by their employer, but when trust is absent they disengage from the organisation as a whole, narrowing down their focus to completing the specific functional tasks expected of them. Trust means allowing people to use their judgement (“better to say ‘sorry’ than ask permission”), organise their own work as a team, and implementing technologies that empower and enrich jobs rather than deskill and routinise them.
Effective job design and self-organised teams require the delegation of decision-making to the lowest practicable level – another manifestation of trust. Empowering people at the frontline to make decisions that affect their work stimulates, learning, personal development and engagement. It also frees line managers for tasks more closely aligned with their role and purpose!
We have created three Worksheets offering a practical exploration of Job Design, Team Design and Workflow, and Team Dialogue.
Complete all objectives for this element: