In organizational politics, it is important to empower employees by giving them the right to choose.
Employees have a right to engage in work and to pursue a freely chosen or accepted occupation. But as the world changes, employees’ reactions to organizational politics have become different and they often want to be engaged in the decision-making process for their company.
Let’s discuss advantages and drawbacks of some approaches.
1. Top down
Top-down management (also called autocratic leadership) is the most common management style. The aim is for managers to reach independent conclusions that change or improve the workplace or business systems.
This style is one where the manager or the chief executive officer makes decisions unilaterally, without taking into consideration the opinions of subordinates. The tasks are then handed down to employees who work to complete them on their own or with other employees. So, in this case, employees are constantly seeking permission to do their jobs and they have no role in decision making: Everything is already planned and decided for them. Not being encouraged to make improvements and to take any initiative causes a lack of motivation among employees.
Moreover, the autocrat style negates any form of teamwork. If the manager is out of ideas, the organization gets stale and tired. The most ambitious and talented employees are often driven away by this negative approach and the organization keeps employees who have no motivation.
Also, the autocratic manager can limit the contact between staff and board. This makes employees feel that they are not the part of that company and it can decrease the quality of their work because of this management style.
This management style is generally used in the military and police forces where the instructions need to be taken seriously without hesitation. Banks, financial institutions and other companies in highly regulated industries are also more likely to use top-down management.
2. Bottom up
Compared with a top-down management style, a bottom-up or democratic method encourages all employees to participate in every step of the decision-making process. In this case, managers communicate goals through milestone planning and team members are invited to come up with their own ideas that would help them reach the goals. The performance of tasks is up to the teams and they are constantly participating in the project management process.
A bottom-up approach allows all levels of an organization to become a part of the process and helps everyone feel valued and appreciated. Thanks to this method, a high degree of autonomy engenders a sense of responsibility and greater job satisfaction in employees. They are more open to work and to convert their ideas into reality. They are also free to choose the ways that work best for them to achieve their objectives.
Teamwork is highly appreciated in this kind of management. Employees are encouraged to brainstorm regularly and share their solutions or brand new ideas. They can pass their ideas on to others in their team and improve processes in new ways with that collaboration.
The popularity of the democratic approach is growing. However, there are some difficulties with this approach. Allowing all employees to engage in decision making can lead to too many unproven ideas being suggested that need to be collected and discussed. With a big number of employees, managers may have a harder time finding an effective plan to engage the employees and to optimize their ideas easily. This may lead to an inability to choose one course of action out of so many ideas.
That is why managers search for different tools to make this approach easier. There are several platforms that should be mentioned:
Slack – It’s a good way to engage employees. It is used to reach everyone at once, share files and hold private conversations.
Swift Polling – This is a real-time polling tool which is mainly used for team meetings and workshops. It lets everyone express their ideas through text voting and see the results in real time on a screen. Managers use it to make the decision-making easier and to show employees the overall results that appear as answers are submitted.
Managing change for employees made a revolution in the science of organizational politics. Organizational politics change and improve every day and there are many more approaches that are yet to come!