Have you thought about why it might be important to empower others on your team? And what is empowerment anyway? Many leaders struggle with the concept of empowerment, but do little to make it come alive. Creating a culture of empowerment can move a team’s performance from good to exceptional, from working on a particular project to teaming up for extraordinary results.
Empowerment can be defined as giving others authority to reach their goals as they see fit. Empowerment provides others the opportunities to make their own decisions and choices. The ultimate goal of empowerment is developing an environment of trust, where every team member is accountable for their own actions. So why wouldn’t every leader want to empower others to become strong decision-makers and execute responsible choices? Perhaps some leaders just aren’t sure how to empower their teams or they might not have the confidence to lead in an open way. Here are some ways to begin to create an empowered team:
- Share information with everyone. By informing everyone of the true issues, concerns and obstacles, nobody is left in the dark with a lack of knowledge. Everyone can then make decisions on an equal playing field.
- Offer skills training or mentoring to anyone who needs to improve to make stronger and wiser decisions. The worst thing a leader can do is telling their team to make an important decision without providing them with the skills, knowledge and strategies to be successful.
- Coach team members to develop self-confidence in making choices and forging direction. By helping others see their value and worth, leaders are developing future leaders, whom they will be able to rely on and collaborate with. Team members who possess positive self-images and confidence in the way they tackle challenges can add greatly to the performance of a team.
- Encourage others to assert themselves and share ideas so that all suggestions are offered and evaluated. If others feel that what they have to say will not be considered or valued, critical opinions will be overlooked. The result of missing analyses can lead to a team not voting on the best choice, or even a misguided choice.
When a leader is successful in creating a culture of empowerment, each team member feels responsible to the team and part of the decision-making process. Each empowered individual senses a belonging to the team’s mission and will continue to make valuable contributions. The concept of “We are all in this together” permeates and a trusting workplace evolves.
How have you empowered your teams?