What to do if an employee avoids independent decision making?
German psychotherapist Jörg Berger and business coach Monica Bilitz in the book “Spiky Characters in Business” address the problem of employees avoiding the moment of making decisions. The indecisive team members who constantly shift their responsibility to colleagues and leave the solution of issues for later, the authors call “avoiding”. The article discusses ways to identify such employees, as well as methods of working with them.
Most often, avoidants are friendly and friendly team members. Because of fear of potential troubles, they in every possible way avoid conflict situations - both in work and in personal communication.
Avoiding problems, employees prefer to do nothing and take a passive position in resolving any issues. They never mind the boss and secretly expect another employee to take their responsibility.
If the avoidant is working in a team, then his avoidance of decision-making is quickly detected. In the case when an employee works independently, and his job functions are not related to other team members, most often the truth is revealed too late, when the situation has already gone out of control.
How to identify an indecisive employee
In order to avoid a crisis situation, an experienced manager must be proactive and calculate an indecisive employee before a problem arises.
Avoiding people often use the following phrases expressing uncertainty:
- “I need to think things over again”;
- “In theory, the implementation of this project should not cause difficulties”;
- "Probably possible".
If the manager too often hears such phrases as “perhaps”, “probably” - this is an occasion to take a closer look at the employee. As a rule, employees know what to do in a given situation, but they never act for fear of mistakes.
How to re-educate the avoidant
Consider the main recommendations that will help when working with avoidants.
Have a conversation
This task may not be as simple as it seems at first glance. Such employees most often shy away from any unpleasant conversations. Try to build a conversation so that the employee does not feel guilty. Find out how he feels in a team and for what reason decision making makes him fear.
Do not accept excuses
When an employee tries to quickly end a conversation by answering your questions with excuses, try to gently but persistently achieve specifics. Emphasize the importance of resolving the issue and express support for the interlocutor.
Help focus on the positives
Avoiding most often focus on possible failures. Your goal is to shift the employee's view from potential failures to a positive result. Instead of threats about a deadline breakdown, point to the possibility of an early vacation with the rapid completion of the project.
Fight with fears
If an employee is constantly tormented by disturbing thoughts, discuss them. Prove their groundlessness and emphasize the positive points in the work.
Discuss the long term implications
Explain to the avoidant that avoiding work does not relieve him of responsibility, but only delays the moment of decision making and accumulates unsolved tasks.
Record all agreements in writing
Write down the exact terms for the implementation of the tasks, write a detailed plan for the work. The clearer the duties of the employee are formalized, the less likely they are to avoid their implementation.
What should not be done
When working with indecisive team members, do not do the following:
- Threaten and put pressure on the employee. Escapers are already fully focused on failures. Additional negativity will only unsettle them even more, as a result of which an employee can simply refuse to complete tasks.
- Make fun of a subordinate. With irony and jokes, the leader will not only not add self-confidence to his subordinate, but will completely demotivate him.
- Express pity. Do not transfer avoidant tasks to other team members. Thus, you only strengthen his strategy.