Input or output driven management, what do you prefer? Leading a team can be a major challenge. As a manager, you can have in mind exactly how you want to see a project carried out. But your employees probably don’t think the same way about accomplishing the project. You may then be inclined to explain in detail how you want to have something done. In other words, you proceed with input control. You leave your employees little or no room for their own input.
But you are not the one who will implement the project. Your ideas may not be feasible in practice. Your employees are specialized in this area and will probably come up with very good ideas if you give them that room.
If you switch to output control, you begin to offer employees the space they need to successfully complete a project.
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We have designed a practical toolkit especially for this:
What is input-driven management?
When you, as a manager, focus on input, you focus on solutions. You have the whole process ready, your employees only have to carry it out. You provide the solution and the way you want it to be achieved. All answers to questions such as who, where, how, when … you have already answered.
This way of working leaves no room for the creativity of your employees. Where an output-driven manager assumes the competencies of his employees, an input-driven manager assumes the incompetence. This indicates a certain degree of distrust, which is not a good basis for a healthy working relationship.
If you are focused on the input, then you are more concerned with checking on the ‘how’ level. This will cost you an unnecessary amount of time. You have hired your employees to perform work for you and you must trust them in this.
If you have sufficient confidence in your employees, you leave the ‘how’ to them and you start delegating matters.
Input control in practice
With input control, you portray to your employees that you think you know better than they do. That a good result can only be achieved if they do exactly what you say. This is not a pleasant way of working for employees. In fact, you say, “I think, you do.” Employees are not counted on, there is no basis for trust. In addition to the fact that your employees may have to perform unnecessary work, there is a good chance that the result of this project does not suit the customer rather it is more suited to you.
Your employees have a better relationship with the customer. As a result, they know exactly what is needed in practice to ensure that the product or service meets the wishes of the customer. Management and supervisors steer on figures and are further away from the customer. As a result, they miss this important information when managing a project.
Also read: The role of HR in absenenteeism
What is output-driven management?
Output-driven management is based on goals and criteria. You present the problem to your employees, thereby giving the goal and the results that must be achieved. Together with the preconditions for the solution, your employees have everything they need to get to work.
It makes sense to manage your employees in this way. Your employees get all the freedom and space to show their creativity and use their strengths. And aren’t those the reasons why you hired this specific employee? You provide direction and vision with output control, formulate the perfect picture and leave the input to your employees. They determine the concrete path to follow in order to achieve the goal.
Output control in practice
Yet in practice, it often goes differently. Managers generally have difficulty with output control. Output control requires a lot of trust in the employees. Delegating and releasing responsibility is what you will have to do.
But what if you are not sure that your employees can implement it exactly as you envisage it? Often there whats called the bottleneck. How your employees will implement it is not up to you. If you have clearly formulated the result, the goal and the good criteria, the experts, your employees, will get to work.
Read also: From goal-oriented to process-oriented
Output control better for your customers
Managing on output has major positive consequences for the organization. With output control, the customer becomes more central. Your employees are closer to your customers. They often have direct contact with the person concerned. The feedback they receive can, therefore, be applied immediately. As a result, the product or service fits in better with the customer, who will be more satisfied with the result.
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Output-driven management uses talents
Output-driven management is purely focused on the goal that must be achieved and the preconditions that the solutions must meet. For the rest, the talents of the employees are fully trusted. It is not prescribed how the work must be carried out. That part is left to the specialists. They may come up with the solutions and fill in how the project is being implemented.
Output-driven management, therefore, makes optimum use of employees’ talents. It is a win-win situation. Your employees are challenged to let their creativity work and to use their skills to the maximum. In this, you get the best results that seamlessly meet the wishes of the customer.
- As a manager, you are authoritarian when it comes to the problem, the goal and the criteria
- The employees are given complete freedom to design the solution
- The manager does not provide solutions but asks the specialists
- Employees are looking for the best solution that matches the set criteria
- The creativity and talents of the employees are used optimally
- The employees themselves check whether the product or service has achieved the desired goals
Also read: increasing employee resilience
Output control makes employees more creative
When managing your employees you have to deal with a problem and a goal. The problem can be formulated clearly because it is current or has recently taken place. Facts can be derived from this.
The goal is, in the first instance, more vague. For example, you want to increase customer-friendliness, improve user-friendliness and, above all, avoid the problem. How this should be achieved is still unclear. The criteria that are set limit the scope for finding a solution. But these conditions also provide a clear direction in which the problem can be solved.
Also read: keeping employees motivated
Modern leadership is output driven
There used to be a clear separation between employer and employees. The employer instructed his staff what they had to do and then the employee/s did exactly what they were told to do. Nowadays it is no longer like this. There is more and more cooperation, in which a good leader knows which tasks he must delegate.
An inspiring leader does not tell his employees how to do something, but why?
However, many managers have difficulty releasing this control. Steering on output requires complete trust in your employees. That means letting go. You have put together a team of specialists who have the knowledge to come up with the best solutions. These days, changes are going too fast to teach people how to do something. By telling them why they can come up with the best solution themselves. And that is different every time. Steering on output offers the organization much more added value. There is more focus on the higher goal and the added value for the customer.
Output can be: increasing pleasure at work.
Can we help with that?
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Output-driven management better for employees
Employees feel better when they have the space to develop in their work. Their work happiness will be greater if they are given the freedom to decide for themselves what their working day looks like. They are more satisfied with their work if they know that the product or service perfectly meets the wishes of the customer. That is why output-driven management is better for employees.
It is also a good way to see if an employee is in the right position. If they cannot offer a good solution independently after output control, it is advisable to take a good look at whether this employee might be better placed in another position. Targeted training can also give the desired result.
Output control gives employees more job satisfaction because:
- They get energy from the work they do
- Employees get more freedom
- Work is carried out with appropriate responsibility
- Personal development is encouraged
- There is an appreciation for what they do
- They are a valuable addition within the company
- They can use their talents
- There are sufficient career opportunities
- They have sufficient challenge in their work
Why is output-driven management so difficult?
Output-driven management offers many benefits, both for the employee and the manager, who save a lot of time in this way. Yet too many managers are still purely focused on input. Or they make a combination of input and output because they do not want to let go of control due to a lack of trust in their staff.
Do you see yourself as a leader? Or are you more of a manager? As a manager, you are mainly concerned with managing processes and accounting for them.
A leader realizes his vision with the help of his employees. Because putting down a vision is not something you do alone. You need a strong team for that. As a leader, if you have a strong vision for your company, your employees will start to live by this. You can even create a complete revolution in the market.
Also read: How to reduce absenteeism
Learn to let go and achieve more
As a manager, you like to have an influence. That is part of your job. And in a sense, that’s true. If you manage a team, a certain degree of influence is needed. But that doesn’t mean you have to keep control over every choice that your employees make.
Most employees are perfectly capable of making these choices themselves. If they need support, they will let you know.
The urge of managers to keep control is often fed by one or a few employees who do not achieve the desired results without this intensive control. But as a result, an entire department suffers from managerial interference.
Therefore, look critically at the results that the employees offer you and only focus on those employees who really need your extra attention. Give others more freedom to show their full potential.
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Switching takes time
If there has been a year-long focus on input within the company, it is not possible to simply switch over. Employees and also the managers are used to this way of working. A fixed pattern of working offers certainty and gives a familiar feeling.
If you suddenly change the entire method, you can expect a lot of uncertainty. You expect other things from your employees and you give them more responsibility. They have to get used to this and so do you. Therefore make this change step by step. Start with the most experienced employees and teams.
Also read: a work obsessed employee
Review the protocols
The larger the organization, the more protocols and processes are recorded. Some companies can get stuck in this way that the protocol becomes a goal in itself. These protocols often stand in the way of change. They will have to be completely revised and fully focused on output. No longer the how and what should be recorded, but the goal must be central.
Deviating from the known and trusted protocols requires guts and time. In the beginning, many managers do not dare to trust that employees pick it up properly. As a result, the employees themselves will doubt whether this way of working will produce the best results.
Do not underestimate what your employees can achieve, as long as they have the space to develop. Keep in mind that it will not succeed instantly. Take the time to find the right way in this. Making mistakes can and is a learning process in itself.
Also read: increase safety
Better leadership with output control
The fact that good leadership is not easy is demonstrated by the many leadership training courses you can follow. There is more to managing than ensuring that your employees perform their duties properly. You are responsible for a group of people. Together with these people you will have to achieve goals and achieve the desired results.
For this, your employees must be well-informed and at the right desk. Health and happiness at work are things that you as a manager may not think much about. Yet this is also part of good management. Because if you ensure that your employees are in good health, do not experience too much work pressure and are happy at work, you can expect much better results.
Employees driven by output management will be more motivated to work than people who are simply told what to do. It is certainly worthwhile to delve into this. Not only for the organization but certainly also for your employees.
Also, read about sustainable employability
Input or output targeted management: powerful help
Making the switch to new leadership will not go without a glitch. Everyone has to get used to it. But there is much to be gained in the new situation. It is certainly worth the investment.
Milltain offers training and coaching for managers and employees so that the transition will be a lot smoother. Change can cause stress. For some employees, new tasks and uncertainties can become too much. Prolonged tension can cause burnout. Of course, you always want to prevent that. Our training courses are aimed at preventing stress as much as possible and increasing the pleasure of working.
Also see: Absence training for managers
Who are we?
Milltain supports, with a team of experienced trainers, organizations in the prevention of stress and the (re) finding of work happiness in the workplace. Our training courses are aimed at managers within companies. A burnout quickly costs the organization € 70,000.
In addition to financial suffering, human suffering is great. Not only for the employee but also for close colleagues who have to deal with the blows. Before you know it you are in a negative vicious circle.
Do you want an effective approach to long-term absenteeism and increasing work pleasure? (instead of extinguishing continuous fires).
We are happy to inform you about our training courses:
- Stress prevention training
- Training in absenteeism interviews
- Training TimeManagement
- Work pleasure training
- Assertiveness training in the workplace