For decades, two common thought processes have influenced management. Managers take a “hard” approach when it comes to addressing challenges − creating new structures, processes, and systems. And they opt for a “soft” approach when they need to boost morale − launching initiatives like off-sites or lunchtime yoga. The problem is that both of these are outdated in an age of mounting complexity. Stop trying to control people or make them happy; instead, give your employees more autonomy and encourage them to work with each other.
Start by understanding what your employees do and why they do it, and foster cooperation by giving people the power and interest to do so. If you increase the total quantity of power (don’t just shift existing power around), create direct feedback loops, and reward those who cooperate, employees will feel liberated and empowered to make critical judgments and to come up with creative solutions to problems.