The Balance Between Rigidity and Flexibility in the Workplace
Some of you are probably like me. I like to have my agenda planned and stick to it for years to come. If it was up to me I would plan every day of my life today until the day I have to leave this world. But the reality is we live in an age where anything can change or go the complete opposite direction in just a matter of seconds. Especially when dealing with Human Capital. The key to psychology is how predictive our past behavior can be. But something we have found hard to grasp, as a science, is how our behavior can sometimes be unpredictable and inexplicable. There is a need for balance between rigidity and flexibility.
Running a successful business is a lot about projection and planning, but also about creativity and solution. Nowadays, teams are full of people that want to be independent. In what sense? Achieve business goals their own way. However, there are still some business practices that can’t rely exclusively on someone’s creativity and independence. There are still some managers that are somehow rigid in their leadership style. Studies show that employees that are given freedom on goal-achieving strategies, tend to be more successful and happy. It is possible to find a balance between rigidness and flexibility to achieve better results.
Rigidity in the Workplace
Rigid workplaces are ones with rules, regulations, and policies, that are restrictive and usually non-negotiable. For many years, businesses relied on this kind of structure as it would help them get the numbers they were looking for. However, it is important to understand when this kind of structure was thought, designed, and developed, business needs and people’s preparations to complete their jobs, were completely different from the ones we have today.
These rigid and restrictive structures also were based on complex and determined hierarchies. Businesses that implement this kind of structure tend to be more orderly, organized, and consistent. Depend on a reliable chain of command. The restrictions and regulations natural of these structures ensure the right amount of focus and time was devoted to particular tasks and that it would be ready when it was needed.
Flexibility at Work
Flexibility in the workplace is a concept of our new world. And surfaces as an alternative to rigid structures, as they presented many flaws and problems. It involves the ability to adapt to new circumstances as they emerge. Developing a flexible work environment is about preparation and readiness. As I said, there is a lot of unpredictability in life. A flexible structure will help you anticipate new developments or deal effectively with those you were not able to anticipate. It is key in problem-solving as everything in the structure can be interchangeable in order to achieve desired results.
Employees and team members that work under flexible strategies can overcome most obstacles and have more freedom over their work. The tools they will implement when solving a problem and even their work schedule and location. It becomes easier and simpler to meet business objectives as employees will be utilizing their skills and tools to their full potential because they have the freedom to. This leads to employee evolution and business growth.
Rigidity and Flexibility – How to Find the Balance
Are you needing to find a balance between rigidity and flexibility? There are many things you can do in order to find this balance. I want to remind you, you should always keep into consideration your business characteristics and needs, but especially your employees’ differences, qualities, and strengths.
- Set your goals. Tell your employees and team members what you need to achieve. You hired them because they know how to do their job, so let them do it. By setting a goal you tell them to go from point A to point B. But make it up to them what kind of path they want to be drawing.
- Your employees and team members are familiar and aware of the resources they posses. You do not need to tell them how to do their job or give them instructions. Of course, deadlines, rules, and policies still need to be in place. However, letting every employee set their own path will encourage creativity. As long as the works gets done in time and well, you should not get in their process.
- Allow your team members to be open about their career goals. Not everyone has the same goals in life. But also, some people are comfortable where they are at the moment. Always be open to discuss these goals with each of your employees and help them build the path they want to follow. We don’t want a leader that pulls us behind. But you also don’t want to be pushing someone into something they are not comfortable with.
Differences In Rigidity and Flexibility
I believe this is the most important part of human interaction. Understand everyone we interact with is different and our actions can affect them differently. Some of our team members will be the independent kind and others will feel more comfortable with micromanagement strategies.
At the beginning of every work relationship, you need to determine which of your employees prefer either. Then establish strategies to deal with them more effectively and goal-driven. Be present for the employees who need more guidance. Provide prompt feedback to every one of them, especially the ones you give more freedom to.