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Management article
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Reference no. R1109K
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Published in: "Harvard Business Review", 2011

Abstract

Everybody knows that an empowered team enhances everyone's performance, including the manager's. Vlachoutsicos, of the Athens University of Economics and Business, argues that the vital, particular ingredient in buoying employees is fostering a sense of mutual dependence, or ‘mutuality,’ every time you interact with subordinates. He offers six lessons in achieving mutuality: (1) Be modest. Specifically, avoid talking about your track record and instead focus on your people's present needs, (2) Listen seriously - and show it. Don't assume that folks recognize how attentive you are. Make sure the outward signs reflect it, (3) Invite disagreement. But deliver the invitation artfully so that people really do pipe up, (4) Focus the agenda. Don't let discussion run amok in the name of openness. Streamline it so that the progress is palpable to all participants, (5) Don't try to have all the answers. See yourself more as a catalyst for problem solving than as a problem solver per se, and (6) Don't insist that a decision must be made. Give the decision-making process time to breathe, even if that sometimes means delaying a conclusion. The author richly illustrates each of these lessons with a compelling story from his lifelong experience.

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Abstract

Everybody knows that an empowered team enhances everyone's performance, including the manager's. Vlachoutsicos, of the Athens University of Economics and Business, argues that the vital, particular ingredient in buoying employees is fostering a sense of mutual dependence, or ‘mutuality,’ every time you interact with subordinates. He offers six lessons in achieving mutuality: (1) Be modest. Specifically, avoid talking about your track record and instead focus on your people's present needs, (2) Listen seriously - and show it. Don't assume that folks recognize how attentive you are. Make sure the outward signs reflect it, (3) Invite disagreement. But deliver the invitation artfully so that people really do pipe up, (4) Focus the agenda. Don't let discussion run amok in the name of openness. Streamline it so that the progress is palpable to all participants, (5) Don't try to have all the answers. See yourself more as a catalyst for problem solving than as a problem solver per se, and (6) Don't insist that a decision must be made. Give the decision-making process time to breathe, even if that sometimes means delaying a conclusion. The author richly illustrates each of these lessons with a compelling story from his lifelong experience.

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