Self-directed workforce involves a multi tasking scenario by the employees of a particular organization. They do not need instructions, objectives and fixed schedule for them to follow. A company needs to adapt a self directed workforce since the system saves money that could have been used for over-hiring. A major problem during the implementation of a self driven workforce is lack of a model for self direction. Self-direction involves much on the behaviors that assist employees meet not only organizational requirement, but also a more personal satisfaction for success in all areas of life. Self awareness of the workers is important, in developing a self directed work force. It is also essential to note that, group dynamics, leadership, organizational and managerial features are important in managing an organization since they influence the employees' teamwork and motivation. Some of the obstacles that
hinder the success of a self directed work force include traditional hierarchy, bureaucracy and inefficiency communication among others, as discussed.
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Self-directed workforce involves a case where the employees administer themselves and can perform other tasks not meant for them. The employees have the capability to develop an option or alternative course of action and make decisions mainly done by the supervisors and managers. In such a case the role of middle management, is eliminated since the employees are efficiently able to manage each other and themselves. They do not need guidelines to follow, for them to operate efficiently. In a rapidly changing business world the evolving companies will be the streamlined, responsive and innovative companies of the future. This creates the necessity of a new kind of employee who is self directed. That employee will require the capability to work both independently, with minimum supervision (if any), and in cooperation as a member of a group. That employee will be expected to resolve challenges and manage conflict without supervisor's help and guidance. And there will be need for each employee to take responsibility for their career planning and their own personal development. (Kovach et al, 1994)
In case of a non-self-directed workforce the workers union policy affect the organization negatively, by creating a lot of collisions. The workers are only allowed to perform one job task. This usually prevents them from working effectively and efficiently. An example of such a scenario is where a machine breaks in a manufacturing company; not any employee would be allowed to repair the machine themselves because that was against the policy of the union. They would have to wait for a person in charge of repair and maintenance to come over and fix it. Workers inefficiency and hiring more personnel would be an added cost to the company. Therefore it is to the advantage of the company when more money is saved by implementing a self-directed work force. (Kovach et al, 1994)
The major problem during the implementation of a self driven workforce is lack of a model for self direction. Self directed employees need to have certain characteristics. They need to be fast learners. They have to know how to perform everyone's job. In the case where the employees are not familiar with some job, they have to be trained. Self-motivation is a very important aspect in developing a self directed employee. If someone performs a given task wrongly, they need to be trained to do such work properly. That goes along with good teaching abilities and good communication skills. There is need for team players since most people working in an organization or company would be working together all the time. And in case of a problem, they require skills in problem solving on their own since there is no middle supervision, management and organization. (Dart & Marcic, 2009)
It is important to first invite a corporate training expert who would give a situational leadership essential for beginners that lack more skills. Personnel such as engineers, technicians and the support group have to work together in the case of a manufacturing company. This enables the technicians to be efficient and with increasing experience they are in a position to carry out daily work requirements including solving problems. Rotational jobs could be seen since any employee could work at any department in the organization. This capability of an employee to perform a number of tasks is important and makes it easier to allocate jobs ensuring that employees are able to supervise themselves. This is important since the only few middle managers are needed. (Kovach et al, 1994)
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Self-direction involves much on the behaviors that assist employees meet not only organizational requirement, but also a more personal satisfaction for success in all areas of life. This will as a result led to a self motivated employee who contributes to the rapidly changing organizations and prepared to fulfill the future requirements. Employees given the tools to become self-directed are in a position to deliver the successes associated with employee engagement; this includes happiness with their position and the organization, motivation to do good work, and confidence in their ability to help the company succeed. (Dart & Marcic, 2009)
Creating an engaged workforce brings an overall benefit to the company. It creates an environment where workers are contented and involved in continuously improving existing structures and suggesting innovative ideas to move the business forward. (Cummings, 1987)There are principles of self direction, which together help develop a self directed work force.
Self awareness of the workers is important, in developing a self directed work force. There are several ways of increasing employees' self-awareness. They should be able to reflect upon their successes and failures and come to understand more clearly their strengths and weaknesses. This will enable the worker to explore individual and professional relationships and eventually distinguish what is productive for them and what isn't. One of the most important ways of increasing the understanding of self awareness is for the employee, to find out how he/she is perceived by the other workers.
Self-awareness is followed by a set of specific skills which include problem-solving skills, job skills, or conflict management skills. The most important self-direction behavior is the skill of learning how to learn. The achievement of that skill may well make all the other skills possible.(Dart & Marcic, 2009) Workers are faced with the challenge of learning new ideas and knowledge on a daily basis. The possibility of should increase tremendously. Once employees realize how to become effective learners, they can increase their skill and comfort in areas they enjoy and find choice when presented with learning activities that aren't favorites.
Being Part of the Solution
For any business to have a successful self-direction, it is essential to be successful in problem solving. Problem solving involves a system that changes how things are now to being more efficient in future. Since successful self-direction requires one to live up to full potential, the process of changing the way workers are now to the way they would like to be is a first to being self directed. This allows them to become fully engaged in their professional and personal lives. But due to a particular routine rules and traditions in an organization, there was a time when workers weren't expected to be problem solvers, but instead they were expected to turn to an external authority such as an expert or the boss for a problem's solution. (Dart & Marcic, 2009)
Self-direction creates an awareness of the need for change. Employees are able to look and identifying the changes they might wish to consider making in working areas such as, problem-solving, conflict management, and learning. Business demands require that the employees solve problems on their own. While not disputing the importance of external expertise, successful organizations will transfer that expertise to the individual employee through training, and then suppose that the employee be self-directing and become part of the solution
Productive Management of conflict
There may be conflict among the employees at their work place and this may have a negative impact to the business development. By being aware of the possibility of an evident conflict, it becomes easy to focus the problem-solving efforts on the area where real conflict exists. Real conflict involves a situation where disagreement does exist about what the situation is, but there is a solution which ought to look at what action should be taken to resolve the problem. In the case of real conflict, self-directed employees can utilize the problem-solving traits to gain some direction in resolving conflict.
Problems associated with development of a self directed workforce
Most organizations have a number of challenges with their workforce; these include bureaucracy as a structure of management or leadership. In this scheme, an employee is to take and follow rigid instructions from a superior authority. This is one of the problems that trigger mass action which is evident in most of these organizations. In a good structure employees are given the chance to contribute and give opinion and suggestions for future improvement. (Kovach et al, 1994)
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The problem of removing the roles played by the managers and supervisors is also another evident problem. Job allocations in a self directed workforce becomes a problem, this is because it requires that all the employees including those working at lower ranks, to have knowledge of any task in the organization. The technicians and supervisors argue that the superiority they were used to is not possible in a self-directed workforce. Supervisors therefore lost their role in the organization after training other workers.
There is also a problem in recognition and rewarding of the excelling staffs, since a self directed workforce involves teamwork, some don't want to be recognized with their co-workers. This makes evaluation and identification of workers for various training very difficult. Since the supervisory work is minimized, it becomes difficult to evaluate the work that each employer does in a team work. (Cummings, 1987)With self directed work force the role of individual worker in policy setting is also not implemented, there may be disagreement between the management team and the workforce as far as policy making is concerned.
From the discussions, it is important to conclude that the managers play an important role in the development of an organization. It is also clear that to a greater extent the success of a self directed work force depends on the managerial work and supervisory work. It is also essential to note that, group dynamics, leadership, organizational and managerial features are important in managing an organization since they influence the employeesââ‚¬â„¢ teamwork and motivation. Some of the obstacles that hinder the success of a self directed work force include traditional hierarchy, bureaucracy and inefficiency communication among others. (Cummings, 1987)
The organizational arrangement of an organization or business and the communication system also plays a key role. It is important to note that, for a self directed workforce to operate well there should be team work in the organization, the team must eliminate the obstacles between various departments and sections in the organization and hence ensuring proper coordination. The teams should also contain the decision-making managers. (Cummings, 1987) This means that the members of such teams have the chance to plan, solve problems, utilize resources and monitor results. Workers are able to perform managerial duties which include purchasing of raw materials.
The ability of the managers and supervisors to understand the behaviors and role of various employees is significant as this affects the employee's attitudes and can adversely affect their motivation and work in general. Organizational conduct is also a factor for managers getting employees to work efficiently. They exercise leadership through understanding the causes of a given behavior; this will help achieve positive results for an organization.