Posted in Management Best Practices
Do your employees:
- Have the authority, resources and training to make sound decisions at work?
- Take initiative to get things done?
- Creatively solve problems?
- Continually strive to improve their quality, productivity and performance?
No? Then it might be time to loosen the reins a bit. Micromanagement may offer the control you want as a manager, but it typically doesn’t yield the best results. Over time, bureaucracy and unnecessarily tight controls just demoralize people and slow business down.
A better management paradigm? Empower your employees! Use these tips to get started:
Give your employees opportunities to shine.
If your organization is like most, you have people on board who are just waiting for a chance to use their skills and show what they know. Empowering employees allows them to demonstrate technical, leadership, decision-making, project management and other hard/soft skills you might’ve never known they had. In the process, you may identify excellent prospects for internal promotion.
At the same time, having an opportunity to shine is incredibly motivating to employees. When they have the freedom and authority to do their work without crushing micromanagement, it fuels their passion for their job and increases satisfaction.
Provide frequent feedback.
“Letting go of the reins” doesn’t mean completely cutting the lines of communication. When you give employees the resources and authority to do a job as they see fit, it’s critical to provide regular feedback for many reasons:
- It reassures employees that they’re on the right track.
- It ensures accountability.
- It prevents small issues from escalating into major problems.
- It provides abundant opportunities for you to offer praise as well as constructive criticism (which every employee needs).
Delegating slam-dunk assignments does little to motivate your team or help them grow. Empower employees to tackle discrete, yet appropriately challenging, projects that promote both personal and professional development. By encouraging your workers to “spread their wings,” you show faith in their abilities and a commitment to their career growth.
Reward your team.
Obviously, it’s important to celebrate important project milestones, as well as individual and team successes. But those shouldn’t be the only things for which you praise your team. Commend your employees for acquiring new skills, learning (even learning from mistakes), using sound judgment and taking initiative. All are important to sustaining a culture of empowerment.
Don’t punish failures.
Experience is a valuable teacher, and mistakes help employees learn. Be careful not to undermine your efforts by harshly punishing empowered employees who occasionally miss the mark. If employees are afraid they’ll lose their jobs if they mess up once, they’ll never take the calculated risks and initiative you want them to.
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