People create teams to share the workload when tackling problems. Individuals possess a variety of skills and experiences, and each can add to the growth of the project — otherwise, why would they be there?
There is a difference, though, between giving a team step-by-step instructions on what you want to take place, and giving someone a goal and turning them loose. Part of that difference is time: You will gain back a great deal of it each day, which you can then use to focus on other projects.
You also lose stress: Managing every moment as it happens highlights the failure points and generates pushback from employees. Rather than feeling like “If I wasn’t here, nothing could ever happen. They’ll just sit unless I tell them exactly what to do,” you can instead assign a goal andknow that the goal will be accomplished.
So how do you empower your employees to take on new responsibilities or handle tasks on their own? Members of Forbes Coaches Council suggest the following:
1. Stop Micromanaging
Proper delegation is a win-win for everyone that will help your employees’ success and build trust. Proper delegation involves getting buy-in, commitment, and assessing capability and capacity. Show you have faith in employees by reducing the time you spend monitoring them while they work and implement organizational structures that encourage delegation of authority, responsibility and teamwork. – Lianne Lyne, PLP Coaching, LLC
2. Put The Ball In Their Court
Empowering employees is truly about relinquishing the need to control and micromanage their behavior. An excellent way to do this is to simply put the ball in their court. Give them the primary responsibility for creating their outcomes. Show them how being accountable for their achievements translates to adding real value to the company, and how quickly the dividends can add up in their favor. – Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq., WordSmithRapport
Sounds flippant, yet I see it at every level of leadership: people who don’t know how to delegate or feel they are unable to do so. Excuses. To give your team members the freedom to use their expertise and tap into their passion, you need to delegate. Let go. Hand over more tasks than what feels comfortable. You will get better at delegation. I rarely see people get better at juggling responsibilities. – Leila Bulling Towne, The Bulling Towne Group, LLC
4. Align Vision, Values And Mission
Determine what your employee’s values, vision and mission for their work life are. Align those to the organization’s values, vision and mission. See where there is overlap and unleash the possibilities of that employee. When employees feel like they are working for something that truly aligns with their core values, they will feel empowered and passionate to do their work. – Monica Thakrar, MTI
5. Learn Your Team’s Strengths To Develop Trust
Leaders with a loyal following take the time to know their team’s strengths, and the level of sophistication each person is at. They then take it a step further and guide the team to know and leverage each other’s strengths, fostering an ecosystem that is dynamic and designed to perform. Trust emerges through this process, further anchoring the team’s desire to bring forth each other’s best. – Alexsys “Lexy” Thompson, Trybal Performance
6. Give Them Work That Stretches Their Abilities
At times, individuals fail to develop at work because a manager is reluctant to give them work. At times its because they simply believe a person is not capable of doing the work. Other times they feel someone else does it faster or better. To make an employee feel empowered and help them grow and develop, give them work that stretches them, challenges them and allows them to reach new horizons. – Eddie Turner, Eddie Turner LLC
7. Facilitate A Self-Directed Learning Process
Facilitate a self-directed learning process during conversations with your employees instead of giving them advice or solutions to a problem. Help them with questions in order to come up with their own answers or solutions, so they can not only take the initiative to pursue a goal and the responsibility for completing the task, but they can learn from the experience. – Maria Pastore, Maria Pastore Coaching
8. Use Coaching Questions
Leaders are often so task-focused that they forget to ask their employees their opinion on how to get things done. Questions deepen engagement, create ownership and accountability. Instead of telling, ask open-ended questions about how they will launch their project, achieve their deadline, overcome an obstacle, and get the resources they need. Coaching questions are a key driver for empowerment. – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC
9. Foster And Empower ‘Solution-Searching’ Individuals
In order to empower, we must position a culture of “solution-searching” individuals. Foster and empower them with the ability to figure it out, give it a try, dip a toe in the water and take the risk. In order to take risk, they have to feel confident. The only way to increase their confidence is to recognize, inspire and validate them. – Marlo Higgins, Marlo Higgins, Your Chief Inspirational Officer
10. Value Their Ideas And Accomplishments
Leaders who value and recognize employee input and accomplishments create an environment where employees are more motivated to try harder and produce at their best. Valuing their ideas and feedback builds trust and confidence, which results in self-empowerment. Leaders who have an accurate view of themselves and are focused on others will naturally empower their team. – Melinda Fouts, Ph.D., Success Starts With You