Understanding how to empower your staff can be a challenging task, one that has been made even more difficult during the past 14 months with many employees working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Learning how to inspire and energize your team, while equipping them with the tools and knowledge needed to take on more responsibilities, will allow you to spend more time on matters that need your personal attention while empowering your team to take on new challenges.
Employees who feel empowered are more engaged at work. Forbes looked at data from more than 7,000 employees and found that those who felt they had a low level of empowerment rated their engagement at work in the 24th percentile while those who felt they had a high level of empowerment rated their engagement in the 79th percentile. Employee empowerment is associated with better job performance, increased commitment and higher job satisfaction. These employees are also more likely to generate new ideas, look for innovative ways to resolve issues, collaborate with colleagues and develop loyalty to their employer.
Here are five ways to enhance your leadership style so you can develop and empower your employees:
Be Available and an Active Listener
It is difficult to have an open door policy when your staff is working remotely, however, share with them that you are available when and if they need you. When you are tied up with urgent matters, let them know you will reach out to them as soon as the matter is resolved. Provide the ways you prefer to be contacted – by phone, email, text or messaging – and let them know whether they can contact you anytime or on certain days/times each week. When a staff member reaches out – whether they are looking for guidance, voicing a concern or sharing an idea – give them your undivided attention and be an active listener, paraphrasing what is said to make sure you understand it, being engaged and withholding judgment. If you are connecting through Zoom or another video app, be sure to observe any nonverbal cues. Being available to your staff will make them feel understood and valued.
Establish Trust and Delegate
Micromanaging tasks creates a culture of distrust. Instead, provide your team with the appropriate training and knowledge to make good decisions, develop viable solutions and resolve issues while challenging them to think for themselves. It’s important for each staff member to be confident in their decision making and know that you trust them to act independently. Delegating tasks will also help employees strengthen their existing skills while taking ownership of their work.
Making decisions, voicing opinions and suggesting new ideas can be intimidating for employees. Create a supportive atmosphere that fosters and inspires creativity. Make sure your team knows you value their input and are willing to make changes or run with one of their ideas. It’s also important to let them know you “have their back” and will support the decisions they make.
Recognize Contributions and Identify Strengths
A job well done deserves recognition. Providing periodic praise to staff members shows appreciation for their efforts and will encourage them to continue performing at a high level. It also provides an opportunity for you to identify and leverage each employee’s individual strengths. Developing a better understanding of what each employee is good at will allow you to lead your team more effectively.
Provide Opportunities for Growth and Advancement
Supporting professional growth and development will motivate and energize your team. Learning new skills and feeling challenged at work are critical components of job satisfaction. Provide opportunities for continuous learning and development as well as opportunities to attend a specific class, workshop or seminar. Have employees develop monthly or yearly goals and look for advancement opportunities for your team members.
These leadership traits demonstrate to your employees that you view their contributions as important and contributes toward their recognition that they are valued and empowered to take action, which ultimately leads to a higher level of engagement.
The benefits of empowering your staff are innumerable and include higher retention, positive morale and increased job satisfaction. Empowered employees are also more accountable, more likely to embrace change, and more likely to provide enhanced client service. Contact Dan McCormack & Associates to learn more about executive coaching services that focus on leadership and development skills.