Appreciative inquiry is defined as the editing of your management approach to make it more effective for your business. This can be done through either of the following two methods. Either the organisation can deduce which methods are producing efficient results, analyse why they are doing this and then utilise them to their maximum potential. Alternatively, or even as well as, problems can be identified and subsequently worked upon until the weaknesses within the company are eradicated.
Companies and businesses employ a wide range of people to work for them, and all their employees have to be managed in different ways. Some management techniques will motivate and inspire certain individuals, whereas they may feel boring or tedious to others. It is very important to keep employees interested and make sure they do not feel patronised by their management. One of the aims of an appreciative inquiry is to locate who is content with how they are being managed, and who feels they would benefit and develop further if they were handled differently. If employees do not respect or value their boss, then they will be far less likely to try to work hard and impress them.
However, if they are under the management of an individual who they believe is worthy of their position at the organisation and who treats them fairly, they will be far more keen to make a good impression. This may also mean their boss is more respected higher up in the organisation, and there may be better links for the employee if they are looking for promotions. This could again spur a better work rate from the employee. These are the sort of implications that can result, good or bad, from how individuals are managed.
So, we’ve recognised that management types must be correctly matched up to employee types. At this stage I will explain, simply, how to successfully implement an appreciative inquiry. It is important that you get people within the business together so that you can get multiple opinions on the matter. You must identify as many employees as possible who you do not believe are progressing to their maximum potential due to their management. It may then be as simple as swapping employee roles so they have new bosses, or you may even feel that some are worthy enough to warrant bespoke management strategies. When you make this decision, take into account the managers opinions and feelings as well, as at the end of the day they are further in their career than the employee for a reason.
If you decide an appreciative inquiry would benefit either yourself, members of your business or your organisation as a whole, here are some places to look:
- Margaret Rouse writes for and manages WhatIs.com, TechTarget’s IT encyclopedia and learning center. She has produced several articles to do with appreciative inquiry.
- Diana Whitney is a social entrepreneur, founder and president of Corporation for Positive Change, a consulting cooperative. She has written a book on appreciative enquiry.
- Train in a Day provide leadership and management courses incorporating appreciative enquiry aiming to further individual skills and organisation effectiveness.
by Tom Witcomb