You will get the most out of your employees if you, first, create a positive work environment and, second, give employees ownership of their work. Make your employees feel as if they are responsible fully for the outcome and their motivation and efforts will soar. Empowerment is the giving of power, and it’s a win/win/win situation.
Going beyond delegating work to sharing decision making with your top performers helps you because you’re less bogged down by routine tasks and are now more available for work that requires your special expertise. It helps your best employees because it expands their skills and the challenges before them. And it benefits your company because you’ll now have a top team of talented workers able to produce higher-quality work.
If you have trouble with the idea of delegating, then start small. Instead of letting someone take full responsibility for writing and printing your firm’s annual report, start by assigning him or her responsibility for a four-page e-newsletter.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you move toward a culture of empowerment:
- Match the project with the employee’s abilities.
- Give 100 percent responsibility.
- Explain the big picture.
- Tell all.
- Broker for your employees.
Tell Me More
Match the project with the employee’s abilities. If the individual doesn’t have the skills, then give him or her the training to do the job. You don’t want to set someone up for failure. If you are uncertain how the employee will do at first, assign a smaller project so you can evaluate his or her performance.
Give 100 percent responsibility. Those empowered should be given ownership over the project you give them—each and every decision as well as responsibility for the final result. If the employee isn’t going to be held responsible for the process and each step along the way, then how can you hold him or her responsible for the end result?
Explain the big picture. Those empowered need as much information as you have. What makes the work important? How does it fit into the bigger department or corporate picture? What outcome would you like to have?
Tell all. Your employee should be as informed as you are. Don’t just share what you know. Share your network of resources so he or she will stay informed. Offer insights, as well, about the implications of long-range business strategy, competitive advantage, interdepartmental activities or anything else that might impact on the decision.
Broker for your employees. If you don’t have the answer to a question or resources to help your employee be successful, then get them for him or her. Either make introductions or horse-trade for your staff member, relying on your corporate credibility to get what your staff member needs to complete the project as desired.