The old adage that there is no “I” in team carries an implicit understanding of the need for collaboration to realize real success. That being said, if leaders are to see the best from their teams they need to exercise that privilege in the empowerment of their teams. How exactly do we ensure an empowered team?
- Be Responsive
Too often, the famed “open door” promise comes packaged with closed ears. Leaders need to ensure that employees not only have access, but someone who will respond to their ideas and concerns. That is not to say that the answers will always be positive, but it does mean that there will be a sincere willingness to listen, and address. Responsive leaders have a real opportunity to see empowered employees.
- Be Transparent
Many of the issues faced by employees today come from the belief that they are “in the dark.” Of course there are many decisions and processes that require sensitivity, and the inability to share openly, but many facts that are shareable simply are not. Make it a point to share as much as possible, and formalize the dissemination of information. When information is shared on a regular basis, leadership best positions their teams to feel engaged and empowered.
- Be Consistent
Does your team know how you will react in certain situations? And do you react the same way every time? Consistency brings stability and trust. Team members who know and trust how their leader will react when things go wrong, as well as when they go right, feel empowered to make decisions, and to exercise their best judgement. We learn from our mistakes, and those lessons carry the ability to better our teams when we exercise consistency in our reactions.
- Be Sure to Connect the Dots
Are all your team members able, if asked, to summarize in an elevator ride, how their work fits into the big picture? How what they do contributes to the team’s success, and how the team’s success connects to organizational success through the achievement of corporate priorities. In many cases the answer is no. A leader has the responsibility to connect the dots, and to articulate the work asked of individuals and teams in the context of corporate success. It is when team members see themselves as contributors to enterprise success, in clear and tangible ways, that they feel empowered.
Do you have empowered employees? Do your employees feel part of the big picture? By being consistent and responsive while transparently connecting the dots at every possible opportunity, you may be surprised at how more empowered your team becomes!