The Importance of Stewardship in Business
Today I want to talk about something that's incredibly important to employee engagement and something that I think we all should be looking for in our next employment opportunity. I want to talk about the idea of Stewardship in the context Steven R. Covey discussed it in his book,
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and how it's not only important, it's necessary for all of us to maximize our personal and professional development in any role we take on.
To provide context, he explains this idea as a method of management that stifles the urge to micromanage and how it involves setting clear, defined parameters for the task at hand and taking a largely hands-off approach (but still taking the time to get periodic status reports).
He gives an example of having his son take care of the lawn and he explains that he wants the grass to be green and the lawn to be clean (as in free of debris and other foreign objects). He then goes onto say that his son did not keep up with his end of the bargain (about keeping it
Green and Clean) and his son's anxiety over it and how his son eventually asked him to help return the lawn to its original state of
Green and Clean, as well as his son learning the importance of maintaining his responsibilities.
So, you may be wondering:
What does this have to do with me? I'm not in a Management position. or you may be thinking that you can't make your manager entrust you with stewardship over the projects you've been assigned.
That's okay. Not everyone is going to get it and that's not something you can necessarily change, but what you can change is how you approach the tasks you've been given.
Your boss is a micromanager? Take it upon yourself to take ownership of your projects and put a little extra in here and there. I can't guarantee that this will ensure your boss steps back, but here's what I can guarantee, they'll ask themselves whether they should be micromanaging you (who has a history of high performance) or the other employee (who may not have the same history).
You might also be wondering why you should want to take ownership of your projects and the additional responsibility that entails if there's no additional compensation and your boss already trusts you. I can't promise you that there's going to be a financial payoff for the extra work you're putting in or the responsibilities you've taken upon yourself, but I can tell you this: We're all in this boat together.
It's a simple truth. Once you've taken the offer, we're all in the same boat of trying to push our organization's goals further whether our interest in that being our core values aligning with the company's values or perhaps just our own sense of monetary security and we can either take a proactive approach to our workplace and drive it forward or simply coast by day by day. The choice is yours, but just remember that once you sign an offer letter, you join an organization with a highly interdependent infrastructure and the amount of effort you put in may impact people in other departments or even the company's gross revenue or net profits which could have major impact on benefits, bonuses, and even affect layoffs.
So I ask you this, will you step up to plate and take ownership of your department? It doesn't matter if you're the CEO or a line-level employee: You can be the change in your organization that you wish to see or you can be a contributor to the company culture you appreciate. All you have to do is make a pledge to yourself,
We're a team and I won't leave anyone behind.
I hope you're all willing to take that pledge with me and I'd like to thank you all for reading again.