A business leader can have all the talent in the world, but might not go far without a strong support system. Empowering staff members to take on new challenges can lead to enhanced development and increased job satisfaction.
It also develops trust. Take this story from inc.com, featuring Hossein Kash Razzaghi, founder of sports-networking site Fancred.
“It’s not about people who are good at what they do, but people I trust,” says Razzaghi. “I have the vision, but it’s up to them to buy in and become a successful company. Trust comes into play when individual team members believe in that challenge and put their skills to use to meet it. If I have that trust, I don’t have to use a time card or worry if someone takes a lunch break that’s 15 minutes longer. I don’t have to sit in on every meeting to make sure they’re doing what we need them to do.”
Here’s a look at some ways to empower employees for the benefit of the business.
Encourage open communication.
This is a must if employees are going to feel that they are playing a larger role. It may be a major adjustment for a business leader to open the door to increased feedback. The results, however, could outweigh any such awkwardness. Kevin Daum writes about this for inc.com.
“So many companies are built on top-down communication from management,” writes Daum. “Employees in this environment feel there is no purpose in taking a stand, since they have no direct channel and don’t feel they’ll have an impact. As a leader, you may have clear direction and more experience, but that doesn’t invalidate feedback and ideas from people on the front lines. Give employees structured ways to make their thoughts, feelings and observations known easily and regularly. 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.”
Find the strengths of your staff.
Even tough-minded supervisors should step back and evaluate their teams, and determine where positive reinforcement is needed. Giving employees the chance to branch out in areas of interest can boost morale and productivity. Glenn Llopis writes about this in a piece for Forbes.
“Stop spending time being overly critical of what your employees are not doing right and identify what they are naturally gravitating toward — that which gets them excited,” writes Llopis. “Throw their job description out the door and focus on those areas your employees enjoy contributing to the most, and build a plan that utilizes their most positive capabilities to create the outcomes you desire. Everyone wants to enjoy what they do at work, so allow employees to engage with the business in ways that generate the results that you require, while giving them the flexibility to navigate and explore how they can best contribute.”
Allow for a certain amount of risk.
As employees find themselves with new challenges, they may push back with the fear of taking a risk. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that — some are just used to playing it safe. It could be beneficial to ease some of that tension, and allow for some controlled risk. As Daum writes in his piece:
“If they work in an environment where the boss is always correcting them before they have a chance to execute, they will constantly look for approval before taking action or, worse, simply avoid any new or dynamic action. Give employees the opportunity to try new things in a way that doesn’t put the company in danger. Create milestone checkpoints or set up laboratory environments where people can test new ideas and learn from the failures as well as the successes. Then your employees will gain understanding and feel comfortable innovating.”
This may be a tough pill to swallow for many people in leadership positions. Those that have the inclination to do everything themselves will need to shift their way of thinking, because that approach won’t help their employees learn and develop. Brian Morris explores this for business2community.com.
“Have your employees take charge of projects, departments, tasks and other business operations,” writes Morris. “Don’t meddle — rather, give them full control (contingent on regular status updates, of course). This is an especially strong way to implement employee-generated ideas. If you like an idea, have the employee who came up with it manage its implementation.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Empowering Your Employees