Why Empowering Your Team Should Be Your Top Priority

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As a manager, it’s important to not only lead your team toward overall success, but to inspire each member to achieve their own personal successes. By inspiring your team, you provide employees with the opportunity to reach their full potential while cultivating a stronger work environment. This is not only crucial for your employees, but it is necessary for the growth of your organization. So what are some of the ways managers can look to empower their employees to take over?

Related: 4 Leadership Methods to Empower Employees and Build Strong Teams

Start by creating a healthy and supportive environment

When managing a team, it can sometimes be difficult to let go of the reins and let your employees take the lead. We can get caught up in the “if you want it done right, do it yourself” mentality. However, by giving people the opportunity to learn new tasks, your entire team will benefit in the long run (and you’ll avoid the risk of exhaustion if you try to do it all yourself). This is where building trust becomes crucial.

Managers need to be confident that there are many ways to reach the same destination. It’s important to share with your team what you’d like to achieve, but let them have the autonomy to attack the project on their own. In addition to giving your team the autonomy to manage projects on their own, not only solve problems, but use them as teaching moments. Let your team come up with solutions to problems that arise instead of taking care of them yourself, and they will often surprise you. Then, this allows your team to take charge by checking that their instincts are going the right way.

However, taking charge is especially important in customer-oriented roles. Because there are so many moving parts, tasks can be performed without knowing exactly who picked up what. This can cause team members to get lost, get confused about their role, and can even lead to frustration. It is important to clarify the roles and responsibilities of each team member to avoid any confusion and ensure that each employee is aware of what they need to do to succeed. Once the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, be sure to document everything and anything that comes in, so you don’t have to repeat the previous lessons. This provides wonderful company-wide visibility and allows teams to point out clear current processes or see what needs to be updated to suit the current work environment. Not to mention, it makes recognizing individual work much easier.

While feedback and visibility are things that are regularly discussed in the workplace, they are often left out due to hectic schedules and are unintentional in environmental and process reviews. Make this a priority, something that is rooted in your company culture, so that employees are never left questioning their position.

Related: 5 Ways to Empower Your Employees

Prioritize honest and constructive feedback

Once you’ve laid the groundwork for a supportive environment, learn how to provide effective feedback to help your team grow.

When you take over your computer to take charge and learn to let go, mistakes will inevitably occur. That’s why it’s important to cultivate a safe environment where you can share and receive feedback openly. This psychologically safe environment can be created by creating the right climate, mindsets, and behaviors within your teams; it ultimately leads to a place where leaders feel comfortable giving feedback and employees feel supported when they receive constructive feedback.

This should lead to open lines of communication where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and comments, as well as communicating openly about where improvements can be made and how. When you create this environment, your team will feel much safer when they approach obstacles and ask questions. A supportive feedback environment has been shown to significantly improve employee performance over time than those from incompatible environments, further showing the need to make it a priority.

It can be difficult to take on the role of providing feedback. However, it is a valuable skill that, when done correctly and constructively, can create an even greater team and environment. When providing feedback, be sure to: Examine your intentions, set time expectations, ask if your partner is in a place to receive them at this time, pause, and allow them to respond and offer next concrete steps.

Related: How to train your employees to do the best job

Recognize the efforts of employees and show gratitude

Finally, get to know your team members and make an effort to build a relationship with them. Taking the time to show gratitude for the work and effort of your team is an incredibly long road. It is equally important to be authentic, making an effort to build conversations and personal relationships. This will show your team that you are paying attention to them and that you are personally passionate about their growth. Also, recognizing the importance of rewarding positive behavior rather than strictly punishing mistakes will make your business grow exponentially, as positive reinforcement is shown to work better and faster than punishment.

How to get started

If you want to implement these changes, start small. Transformative and long-term change will not occur at the same time, but over time making these changes a priority.

You need to start building a solid foundation with your team to make sure they know and trust that you are available to help. This might seem like setting office hours where you are available during the same hour each week or creating periodic individual records with each member of your team to give them time to chat about their challenges and questions.

Also, model the behavior you want to see in your employees. Through examples, show them how you take the initiative and give them a chance to do it themselves. Reconfiguring your computer won’t be done overnight, but it’s important to start taking steps toward this new future. Over time, as they become standard practice, employees will begin to feel empowered and take initiative, usually strengthening your company from the inside out.

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