Survey: Few Employees Want to be Told What to Do

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<p><strong>Minneapolis &mdash; April 23</strong><br />Only 7 percent of employees wish to be told what to do by their boss, according to a survey by CO2 Partners, a Minnesota executive coaching and leadership firm.&nbsp; </p><p>The overwhelming majority, 93 percent, prefer to be asked questions by their supervisor. <br /><br />&ldquo;The directive workplace has been in decline since the 1970s,&rdquo; CO2 Partners President Gary Cohen said. &ldquo;Today, it&rsquo;s not about following orders but about dialogue and effective leadership. People have grown to expect a supportive work environment where everyone is encouraged to contribute.&nbsp; </p><p>&quot;Moreover, at a time when senior management is so focused on talent management, there is no alternative.&rdquo;<br /><br />Cohen said at least one-third of supervisors and executives who are surveyed favor inquiry as a leadership style.&nbsp; </p><p>&ldquo;Leaders don&rsquo;t tell people what to do &mdash; they ask questions,&quot; he said. &quot;This isn&rsquo;t merely an indirect way of giving orders but real give and take. Leaders realize they don&rsquo;t know all the answers and must draw on the know how of their employees. In fact, we find that about 80 percent of exceptional leaders use this approach.<br />&nbsp;<br />&ldquo;Fifteen years ago, most supervisors knew how to do their employee&rsquo;s job, perhaps even better, but today, few bosses know how to do an employee&rsquo;s job. So, moving from telling to asking isn&rsquo;t a matter of choice &mdash; it&rsquo;s a necessity.&rdquo;<br /><br />With respect to employees who just wish to be told what do to, Cohen noted that there are always people who don&rsquo;t want to be challenged.&nbsp; </p><p>&ldquo;They want their work day to be consistent and as easy as possible,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Independent research firm Content Connections was retained by CO2 Partners and surveyed 216 employed Americans via the Internet in March 2007.</p>

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