Make it safe for employees to express frustrations and point out problems.
Think of complaints as expressions of dedication and a desire to make things better. Then help make it happen. After all, problems are simply opportunities for improvement, and you can only fix a problem that you know about. An employee who points out a problem that could be affecting productivity, safety, product quality, or level of waste is giving you a gift. More than likely, that employee also has ideas for how to fix it. Encourage this behavior.
Be open to new ways of doing things.
Check your ego at the door and keep an open mind. Getting defensive about how you may have done things in the past will accomplish nothing. Besides, the employees who work in the process are best equipped to solve any issues with it because they know more about it than anyone else. Encourage them to collaborate on solutions that make it easier to get work out the door and then recognize them for the effort.
Get out of the way.
The employees who work in the process are the experts, so dispense with multiple layers of reviews and approvals wherever possible. Rather, trust them to do what they know how to do, and encourage them to come to you if they have questions or problems that could impact the timeline or the outcome. Work with employees to create standard processes with clear direction and expectations. Check in often and look for ways that you can help simplify and enable projects to stay on track.
Let enterprise goals be the drivers.
At the end of the day, employees want to do meaningful work unfettered by frustrations that hinder their ability to meet goals since goals are typically linked to compensation. Individual and department goals should feed the enterprise goals. If individual and department goals are met, then the enterprise goals will be met, resulting in higher revenue and profitability.
When you remove obstacles that impede progress, everyone wins. The workplace becomes safer and the workload less overwhelming. Productivity and quality are maximized, waste is minimized, and your ability to meet customer needs is improved. The resulting increase in revenue and profitability, in turn, enables further investment in process improvements and better compensation, creating a win-win for employees and the company. By creating drivers, you push employees to do more; whereas, by removing obstacles, you enable employees to do more. Which one do you think feels better?