Wednesday, February 4, 2015

20 Ways to Empower Your Team

Employee empowerment has been described and defined in many ways but is generally accepted as: the process of enabling an employee to think, behave, act, react and control their work in more autonomous ways, as to be in control of one’s own destiny.

Empowering employees is the ongoing process of providing the tools, training, resources; encouragement and motivation your workers need to perform at the optimum level. If your organization is looking for a way to embrace employee empowerment focus on these areas. 

Open Up Decision-Making
1. Clarify extent of decision-making authority without manager approval.
2. When leading a meeting, get everyone else’s opinion before expressing your own.
3. Ask your team, “What do you think?” and make your question specific to the task at hand.
4. Eliminate approval steps where post-action monitoring and feedback will be sufficient.

Build Confidence
5. Reward and recognize employees who act in an empowered way.
6. Paint an exciting vision of the future to help employees develop their own plans to achieve the vision.
7. Help connect employees to other people and parts of the organization to broaden perspective.
8. Build up team confidence by letting them discover their own solutions and answers, instead of telling them how to do things,

Clearly Define Expectations
9. Spend more time at the beginning of a project to determine its scope and goals.
10. Ensure that each individual on your team understands what they are accountable for.
11. Make sure that everyone understands what part of their job is mandatory and what they can do on their own.
12. Set clear deadlines, but allow team members to work towards them in a way that they are most comfortable with.

Support Risk-Taking
13. Do not penalize mistakes; create opportunities for individuals to share what they’ve learned.
14. Share problems and challenges transparently to create a sense of team unity and support.
15. Work together to identify and remove non-value-added or redundant work, to free up time and energy for new endeavors.
16. Reward employees for coming up with new approaches and solutions.

Encourage Communication
17. Encourage your team to take a dialogue or personality assessment, and share results with the team.
18. Embed time in project planning for idea sharing and feedback from the team (not just the manager).
19. When delivering feedback, focus on the individual’s actions, not what you believe are the motivations for such behaviors.
20. Instead of asking, “Does anyone have any questions?” prepare pointed questions to ask in team meetings, to generate conversation and surface beliefs.

An empowered workforce is something that is highly desirable in an improvement culture.  Unfortunately, just because we want it, it doesn't make it so. Focus on these 20 areas to make a difference in your organization.

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