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Offer a Map, Not Directions

Geo Thomas
Geo Thomas
Founder and CEO, Acme Events India
Geo Thomas is a Bangalore based entrepreneur who started
Acme Events India in 2007. Prior to... more>>
“I’m sure you can figure this out”, is something I often tell my employees.  Gone are the days of micromanagement, watching your subordinates closely or prematurely coming to their rescue at every sign of them making a mess of a situation.  This is the day of the executive with a mind of his own, with a confidence that he can deliver and the determination to make the most of the challenges that come his way.  He walks in with a positive outlook to his daily work and as long as I, his boss do not deter him, he walks out my office with the same confidence. And that is the beginning of a long chain of positive outcomes for the company. The manager empowers him with the confidence and he delivers with that same amount of belief that his senior gave him in the first place.

Today, employees are no longer puppets who are thrown into work because of a lack of choice, but well informed, self motivated individuals who sincerely want to be in the industry and who believe that they can make a difference. Of course, it is our duty as managers to identify these gems and ensure that we give them the role they deserve. I would like to take the example of one such individual  at Acme Events India who  is a graduate from BITS Pilani, who had in hand an exceptional offer letter from a top company, but chose to come to us, just for the fact that ‘events’ was his passion.  Now, how am I as a manager, going to treat this individual? By giving him the freedom that he deserves to follow his dreams. And that means, I have an extremely motivated individual in my team, one that is living his dream and being the best at what he truly wants to do. 

While it is our role, as managers, to guide our employees, I personally refrain from giving specific solutions and answers. When asked for solutions, I take the approach of asking them a series of questions, for which they come up with answers, and eventually their own solution to the problem. This further empowers them with a confidence that they have solved their own issue. When one keeps a close watch on an employee and interferes in every small task that he/she performs on a daily basis, we send a signal of mistrust in his/her ability. And that translates either into him/her losing confidence in themselves or getting frustrated at the work atmosphere in the company.  Now while the point I make may seem like a generalization, it stands true for most individuals; after all the best motivation that you can give anybody, is to trust them.  The common mistake among managers nowadays is not differentiating between hand-holding and spoon feeding. Once an employee gets used to being spoon fed, it limits their perception of their capability and hence, makes them perform much below their ability.

Freedom is one among the top things employees look for in an organization, after work satisfaction, salary and job security. Nobody needs his boss breathing down his neck through the day, after all, your workplace is where you spend a third of your entire life! The employee is our most valuable, intangible asset, treat him with respect and give him the freedom that we would like to enjoy!

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