The appeal of the “Yes Man” is obvious. Who wouldn’t want to have someone in their fold that agrees with all their opinions, praises all their decisions, and generally acts as if they can do no wrong? But as a manger, your job is producing results, not inflating your ego. If your staff has devolved into a team of Yes Men, you are probably not accomplishing as much as you could as quickly as you could. Below, we’ve outlined five strategies to help you develop the kind of engaged, independent employees that can tell you what you really need to hear.
Make Your Vision Clear
One of the reasons that employees become Yes Men is because they’re not sure what you really expect from them. Rather than say the wrong thing, they simply agree with all your ideas. The solution is to make your vision clear from the start, and then to regularly reiterate that vision. Once employees understand where you want to go and how you want to get there, they can begin making decisions of their own.
Create Roles and Define Relationships
It’s worth mentioning again – The Yes Men phenomenon is often born out of confusion. Your team will automatically defer to you if they are unclear about exactly what they are supposed to be doing and who they are suppose to be doing it with. Make each person’s role clear and define the relationship between those roles if you want each team member to begin acting on their own.
Invest in Professional Development
When employees feel that they are a value to a company, and that their company realizes that value, they will be less inclined to march in lockstep with their superiors. Prioritizing and incentivizing professional development is a great way to build an empowered workforce that collectively furthers the interests of your company.
Let People Fail
If your team is deathly afraid of failure and its consequences, of course they will be hesitant to take risks and act boldly. But if you allow your team to fail in a way where they are not worried about being fired or severely penalized, they will slowly begin to venture out on their own.
Offer Praise and Reward
No one wants to be in the boss’ bad graces or miss out on a bonus opportunity. That’s one of the reasons they begin parroting your ideas back to you. Managers who make a real effort to praise employees for their independent efforts and offer up rewards for bold, effective decision making, find that their employees start generating good ideas of their own.
One final tip – recruit employees that have shown they can be independent and think critically. Thanks to those kinds of soft skills, they are not naturally inclined to become Yes Men. When you’re ready to connect with these kinds of candidates, contact JH Technical Services.