Treat them like adults! 𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗳𝘁 𝗶𝗻 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝗴𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗿.

My initials are KSS, which obviously stands for Kim Seeling Smith – but also Keep it Simple Silly (I don’t like the stupid version of that saying).

I believe that we overcomplicate things immensely, and I am constantly striving to distill concepts down to simple, practical models or changes in perspective that will make a major impact.

Recently I had a couple of ‘ah ha’ moments when talking to clients (I tell the story on this LinkedIn Live from last week).

These moments led to a change in perspective, which, I believe, changes everything.

Since the industrial revolution, we’ve designed organizational structures and developed practices that create a parent/child or master/servant relationship between organization/manager and the individuals who work in their teams.

Under this old paradigm the manager was responsible for making all the decisions and feeding them down to the employees to have them carry them out.

That paradigm might have been appropriate when we were hiring people with little to no education to do very menial and predictable things.

But that’s not today’s workforce, and the old paradigm just doesn’t work.

Hierarchical structures, command and control organizations and the idea that the leaders have to come up with all ideas and solve all problems results in a lack of employee buy-in and ownership and has led to poor performance, disengagement and, frankly, substandard ideas.

One of the most common frustrations I hear from leaders is that they don’t feel their teams are being as collaborative and innovative as they’d like.

While research shows there are a number of things that stifle innovation (more on that in a different post) could one of their main challenges be that the leaders are still operating from an old manual?

Whether they realize it or not, they may be operating out of an old paradigm perspective – that old parent/child relationship that stifles innovation, creativity and collaboration.

Think about what could change if we truly started treating our team members like adults.

Here are some real life examples from leaders that I know personally.

🔷 Trying to decide what the best hybrid work arrangement is? Have your team design an arrangement that would 1) serve the customer, 2) serve the team and 3) serve each individual in that order. Test this arrangement and keep what works; tweak what doesn’t.

🔷 Thinking about trialing a 4 day work week or other workforce initiative but don’t know how to do it? Have your team figure it out. Again, test and tweak.

🔷 Have a natty challenge you need to solve? Instead of ruminating for too long and either making the situation worse – or losing out on an opportunity – give the challenge to your team to work through.

Anyway, watch my LinkedIn Live and brainstorm ideas of your own.

I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.