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Conformity at the workplace has become commonplace. It has been observed that more than 60% of employees lose their real identity as soon as they enter their offices. They tend to play along the status quo, not questioning norms even when they have better ideas that would benefit the company. Some employees are forced to hush down their creative minds once they get behind their desks and as a result, there is nominal productivity and less room for innovation.
When employees are not given the liberty to be creative and constructively query the status quo, the chances for long-term personal and organisational developments are crippled. Organisations must be careful in striking a balance between adherence to formal rules that aid the organisation’s structure and conformity to informal status quo, which might be unhealthy for a free working environment.
Not many leaders actively encourage deviant behaviour in their employees. They forget that nonconformity promotes innovation, improves performance, and can enhance a person’s standing more than conformity can. Here are 6 strategies that can help leaders encourage constructive nonconformity in their organizations:
- Create a free working atmosphere – Create an environment where employees can be themselves and express their concerns freely. Provide time for constructive self-reflection and assessment of personal life, career and so on; with emphasis on their uniqueness and strengths.
- Delegate completely – Allow your employees a freehand to use their initiatives in carrying out any task assigned to them. This fosters loyalty as well as makes them become fully responsible for any decision they take. It will also give room for various creative and more effective ways of solving problems or dealing with issues on the job.
- Allow employees utilize natural skills – Allow your employees utilize skills that come naturally to them by giving them liberty to execute tasks which will help them discover some hidden talents. You should channel your employees along the line of their strengths.
- Open the door to better suggestions – Always remind your employees that the company cannot know it all and can never be perfect and so there is room for improvement. Encourage them to bring forward good ideas executed by other companies they have visited, seminars they have attended and so on.
- Make variety a routine – Job rotation can be good for your employees in order for them to have an experience of other departmental roles as well as work with different teams. This will create seamless operations even in the absence of the employee responsible for a particular task. Also, assigning various tasks at the same time can somewhat stimulate creativity as the employee begins to seek better faster ways of executing the tasks ahead.
- Encourage employees to lead – Encourage employees who always voice out their opinions to lead so that by questioning the status quo, better and more effective ideas would surface.
In order to ensure organisational progress, leaders need to create a healthy balance between conformity and constructive non-conformity. As a leader, you must know when to draw the line and give room for better reasoning.