Your company needs to develop strong, empowered employees if you want to grow in today’s marketplace. Here’s how to do that:
Having empowered employees is the dream of every leader. Every upper level manager wants their teams to show initiative, but initiative is not a natural instinct for the ‟employee mindset”, and as such it needs to be conditioned into the right people.
Therefore, having a team of empowered employees begins with hiring people who can be empowered. Prospective job candidates should always be screened on whether they proactively seek needed information and feedback, and whether they strive to accomplish team goals.
Leaders understand that there are people who go through adversity, learn from that adversity and grow as an individual. Then there are those who allow adversity to define them. The worst place to be as a leader is at the mercy of a team that requires constant motivation. The only solution is commit to hire the right people, so true leaders make hiring the right people a life study.
Fight the desire to babysit your team. Rather, watch from a distance, and take note on how they interact with each other and with customers, and by themselves – then use what you learn to modify their environment so they interact in ways that are better for personal and company growth. The goal here is not to set up challenges for your team to overcome hoping they become better, but instead to make it easier for them to walk the path you want them to walk (ie: the path that makes it easy for them to make their own decisions… decisions that foster growth within the company)
A seasoned leader understands that there will always be a small percentage of employees who will fight the opportunity to shine, and those employees can still be an asset in the right position. Our job as leaders is to encourage and reward those who choose to step up.
Only when a leader knows when to teach… or lead… or do neither, will they get peak performance from their team.
Employees need to be held accountable, they need to know when they’re a true asset to the company, and when they’re not. Equally important, if they see others not being held accountable, they will see little need to make the extra effort to reach future goals.
Let them know they’re appreciated by celebrating the good things they do, and help them understand that their input is valued even if you decide to go a different way. Make sure you acknowledge them for sharing and reward valuable input that helps the company.
True empowerment of employees requires that you set up the environment so your employees are both willing and able to have both the constructive conflict necessary to flush out the best ideas…
Constructive conflict occurs when employees are comfortable suggesting new innovative ideas, AND ALSO willing to debate whether those ideas will be successful. The debate about ideas by smart employees, when managed properly, always results in streamlined, well thought out strategies that the employees can take a personal ownership in.
When employees own an idea – they drive harder to make those ideas successful for the company.
All leaders know that employees need to set plans for growth and milestone checkpoints. But smart leaders set up laboratory environments where their people can test new ideas and learn from the failures as well as the successes.
In short, there are lessons to be learned from leaders who consistently develop empowered teams. They lead by example, they allow themselves to be vulnerable because they know it builds trust, they allow the team to hold them accountable so the team understands that everyone is accountable for growth, they encourage constructive conflict to foster the best ideas, and they celebrate as hard as they work.
Chris Guerriero is an entrepreneur, business advisor and speaker who has grown teams, culture, and business systems that yield multi-million-dollar companies. Click here to contact Chris.