The traditional hierarchical style of people management is quickly disappearing in the modern workplace. More companies are embracing a practical, progressive style of leadership that focuses more on employee empowerment. These leaders understand that strong people lead to successful companies.
When applied correctly, employee empowerment nurtures people to become leaders themselves, drawing out the best of their abilities and innate skills. Everyone has a “natural” gift, and good leaders will empower their people to use it so they can thrive in their respective roles and ply their skills toward the corporate mission.
Over time, as trust builds with your team, they’ll be able to make decisions and take actions aligned with your company’s goals. It may require strategic delegation and clear communication on your part, but giving your employees ownership over their actions as a team is essential to growing a sustainable business. There are a number of ways you can start empowering your employees.
10 Key Ways You Can Start Empowering Your Employees
- Communicate The Company’s Vision: No one likes to feel like a cog on a wheel. Empowered employees need to think like stakeholders who understand how their contributions make a difference in helping the company reach its objectives.
- Delegate Strategically: Many leaders delegate to get work off their plate without considering who they give the job to. Delegate tasks with the intention of growing and developing the skills and abilities of your team.
- Set Clear Boundaries: When empowering your employees to make decisions and take actions in the workplace, ensure they know the limits within which they can act. Setting these expectations ensures that they will always perform aligned with company objectives.
- Show Empathy: One of the fastest roads to employee empowerment is by showing them empathy. Empathy requires a heightened sense of self-awareness and an understanding of how to breed resilience, enthusiasm, and optimism in others.
- Simplify Discovery: Ensure that they have access to the necessary tools and resources they need to complete their tasks on a shared drive. This will also prevent an endless stream of questions from flooding your inbox.
- Acknowledge Limitations: When assigning tasks to your employees, be sure not to overwhelm them. Good leaders offer support and recognize when employees seem stressed, confused, or overwhelmed from doing things they’re uncomfortable with or incapable of.
- Allow Autonomy Over Tasks: Not everyone works the same way. Resist the urge to micromanage or exert control over how your employees complete their work and accept that your way might not be the only – or even best – way to get things done.
- Offer Constructive Feedback: When a project is completed, be thoughtful, clear, and specific with your feedback. Be sure the employee knows which actions and approaches you’d like to see applied to future projects and their impact on the team and organization.
- Listen To Your Employees: Be open to hearing and discussing your employees’ ideas and input. Involving your employees in strategic approaches to problems builds trust and can open your company up to fresh new ideas that make an impact.
- Show Appreciation: Recognize when your employees make contributions that help your company reach its goals. Showing genuine appreciation will help encourage them to continue innovating, take positive actions, and solve problems.
When applying these strategies, be sure to step back and monitor the employees to ensure that they stay on the right track. Allow them to grow and be the expert in their field without watching their every move, which can demoralize the person you’re trying to empower.
Outside of the potential increases in workplace efficiency and productivity, there’s one clear advantage for leaders when they empower their employees: it frees up a lot of their time. By delegating repetitive tasks to your team, you’ll have more freedom to pursue the aspects of your work that you find more inspiring.
It also saves your employees time, as they will have the freedom to make decisions that solve problems instead of waiting for you to do it for them.
A significant caveat with employee empowerment is that there is some element of risk in allowing employees to make decisions and take actions independently. They might make a costly mistake, and if you feel the error wouldn’t have happened had you taken on the task yourself, matters can be made even worse.
However, you can mitigate this by empowering employees to take on low-risk tasks and encouraging them to come to you if they’re unsure about anything. This approach should minimize the effects of occasional mistakes. Loyalty and engagement can then easily be nurtured, and as their confidence grows, so will the strength of your business.
Tom Chopp is Managing Partner at SWS Warning Lights Inc. He can be reached at 905-357-0222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.