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Top Ten Tips for Empowering Your Team
- Share the Big Picture
Making sure that people know and have access to the organization's overall mission, vision, and strategic plans helps them to feel that they are part of, and contributing to, something bigger than themselves and their individual job - “we are all in this together”.
- Show You Value People
Your facial expression, body language, and the words you use continually express what you are thinking and feeling about the people who report to you. Work to show that you value people for who they are rather than just for what they do. This shows a deeper level of appreciation and helps to strengthen relationships.
- Share Goals and Direction
Share the most important goals and direction for your team. Ensure that everyone involved has a clear picture of what success will look like. People who have a clear picture of the desired end point are much more likely to get there - “start with the end in mind”.
- Look To Expand The Decisions Members of Your Team Make
This is probably the crux of empowerment – the more decisions your team can make without you the more empowered the team is but enable success by making certain that you have given people (or made sure that they have access to) all of the information they need to make thoughtful and effective decisions.
- Fundamentally Trust People
Trust the intentions of people to do the right thing, make the right decision, and make choices that, while maybe not exactly what you would decide, still work.
- Delegate Authority and Impact Opportunities, Not Just More Work
Don't just delegate the drudge work; delegate some of the fun and important stuff, too. Delegate the important meetings, the committee memberships that influence product development and decision making, and the projects that people and customers notice. The employee will grow and develop new skills and you can concentrate on your unique contribution.
- Provide Frequent Constructive Feedback
Provide frequent feedback so that people know how they are doing. Sometimes, the purpose of feedback is reward and recognition. People deserve your constructive feedback, too, so they can continue to develop their knowledge and skills.
- Solve Problems: Don't Pinpoint Problem People
When things go wrong it is so easy to look around for someone to blame, however a more constructive and empowering approach is to communally identify what in the overall work system allowed the error to occur.
- Use A Coaching Approach…Listen and Ask Questions
Provide a space in which people will communicate by listening to them and asking them questions. Give guidance by asking questions, not by telling people what to do. People generally know the right answers if they have the opportunity to produce them. When an employee brings you a problem to solve, ask, "what do you think you should do to solve this problem?" Or, ask, "what action steps do you recommend?" Employees can demonstrate what they know and grow in the process.
- Help Employees Feel Rewarded and Recognized for Empowered Behaviour
Because if employees feel under-compensated, under-titled for the responsibilities they take on, under-noticed, under-praised, and under-appreciated, their performance probably won’t be great. They won’t feel motivated to go that extra mile!
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