Posted in Management Best Practices
What kind of employees do you have: motivated, self-directed individuals who get the job done, or a bunch of powerless drones?
If it’s the latter, it’s time to look in the mirror. If your employees aren’t taking charge, making great decisions and solving problems on their own, it could be because you haven’t sufficiently empowered them to do so.
Let’s change that. Here are six steps you can take to help your employees take initiative and get more done:
Understand what “empowerment” really is.
Empowerment isn’t something you do to your employees; it’s a culture you build by giving them the freedom, training, resources, feedback, goals and positive reinforcement they need.
You won’t effectively transform your culture overnight. Pick a few employees (i.e., high performers with solid skills, knowledge and work ethic) and projects (i.e., small, yet challenging projects that show you value and trust your team) to test the concept on a small scale. Once you know what works, you can expand your efforts.
Set clear expectations and goals.
Before you turn a project over, create a clear plan of action. Make sure everyone understands their role, their responsibilities and the team’s overarching goal. Agree upon and write down: deadlines and key project milestones; channels for sharing information; methods for effectively delegating tasks; clear decision-making guidelines; how and when progress will be monitored; what a successful result looks like.
Let go of the reins!
Once you’ve provided a sound framework and the resources your team needs, step back and let them do their work. Giving your employees the tools, freedom and authority to truly take charge will motivate them to do an amazing job for you.
Throughout your test, encourage open communication in both directions. Provide enough feedback and positive reinforcement so that employees know they’re on the right track, but resist the urge to micromanage. At the same time, ask your team to share their new ideas and opinions on how the empowerment test is progressing.
Once the project is complete, get together to review your findings. How did the team perform? What worked – and what could be improved? Learn from the experience and apply those lessons to other projects. By building on successes and learning from mistakes, you can develop a culture of empowerment in which every employee is motivated (and properly equipped) to take charge.
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