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How can managers reward the ability to make their employees independent?

How can managers reward the ability to make their employees independent?
July 06, 2023

Best incentive compensation practices

A manager’s qualities are judged by their ability to make their employees independent. This is their main responsibility, and a significant part of a company’s economic success depends on getting it right. But is it possible to learn how to manage well and how to reward management qualities correctly?

How do you guide your employees on the path to independence?

Doing this involves gradually freeing them from their dependence on their manager. This is therefore a slow process that should be carried out in stages, with patience and consistency. The aim is to make them responsible and to strengthen the relationship of trust needed between a manager and their teams.

Making employees independent is a long-term process that requires permanent and ongoing investment by a manager. They need to invest their time and all their relational skills to enable their employees to work in peace. This is because the role of a manager is, in reality, to help their employees grow.

Enabling employees to become independent doesn’t mean leaving them to their own devices and asking them to do all their work without support. The challenge for managers is to successfully delegate tasks and assignments in a gradual way. From the outset, it’s essential that managers really guide their employees by constantly checking the different stages of their work.

Over time, this supervision should gradually decrease. At the same time, the difficulty of the assignments should progressively increase. The aim is that by the end of the allotted time, the employees can carry out all their tasks independently, with the manager’s only job being to check the quality of the work done.

While this method may seem simple in theory, the manager needs real teaching skills, patience and the ability to adjust the nature of their support to the profile of each team member. It must be admitted that not all managers have these qualities. So, can you become a good manager and improve the way you work with your colleagues?


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Can you become a good manager? Let’s look back at a long-standing myth.

In France, many professionals wrongly believe that management skills can’t be learned. There is a persistent myth that you either have what it takes or you don’t have what it takes to properly manage a work team. However, such skills are rarely innate, but can be acquired like any other skill. Leading and supervising a team actually means being able to make your employees independent. In other words, this is the core profession of managers. Many companies overlook the impact of management methods on their employees’ productivity. Poor management, in addition to dangerously straying from the company’s overall strategy, can cause a deep sense of loneliness among employees and significantly damage the employer brand.

Yet it’s not so hard to spot a bad manager. Instead of leading their teams on the road to independence, they constantly control their employees and never change the way they supervise them. A bad manager may also completely abandon their colleagues and not show any support. In any event, their methods are fundamentally toxic and harmful to the company.

Ensuring that managers are properly trained is a must for an ambitious company that cares about its employees’ welfare. This means that they sometimes need appropriate training to acquire the skills that are fundamental to their role in their company. And since these skills can be learned, they can also be assessed.

What bonus system should be used to reward managers?

A manager’s work is assessed over the long term. This can sometimes be several years. To reward management ability, qualitative bonuses are therefore needed. Management by objectives or MBO is the most appropriate and effective calculation mechanism for this. Developed by Peter Drucker in the 1950s, MBO is designed to set objectives that are adapted to the people in a company who indirectly contribute to the company’s economic success, particularly non-sales and sedentary populations. As such, MBO is particularly suited to managers.

MBO can be based on quantitative as well as qualitative variables to generate behavioural change and improve teamwork. Incentive mechanisms that improve collaboration between colleagues with complementary roles help develop a co-construction approach. They therefore help articulate, in a realistic and meaningful way, the objectives of managers as well as the employees they have to support. Unlike simpler performance objectives, MBO objectives are set over a longer period of time and encourage real behavioural change. This incentive compensation model is specifically recommended to encourage the adoption of new behaviours – in this case, for managers, of a changing and progressive form of supervision.


Every good manager should seek to make employees independent. However, to achieve this successfully, managers must be able to set up a real independence process, one that is adapted to each employee, decidedly progressive and long-term. In addition to helping managers acquire the skills they need for their work, companies can benefit from an incentive compensation system adapted to the management population. MBO is therefore the most suitable bonus scheme for rewarding managers who encourage independence among their employees.


The 10 golden rules of incentive compensation  Optimize your incentive compensation plans with this exclusive content white  paper.  Download


The 10 golden rules of incentive compensation

Find out the incentive compensation white paper gathering best practices and pitfalls to avoid to set up incentive compensation plans

Blog post author

Fabien Lucron

Après 15 ans passés dans des postes de management opérationnels dédiés à l’efficacité commerciale dans de grands groupes, conscient de l’enjeu que représente la rémunération variable en termes de motivation, d’équité et de performance, je me consacre depuis 10 ans à la création et la refonte de dispositifs de primes pour les entreprises de tous secteurs d’activité.

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