Two important things to know about empowering your team:
- We measure empowerment by how willing people are to offer us their maximum discretionary effort.
- We know that people feel empowered when they are motivated to give their all.
Who doesn’t want to lead a workplace environment like that?
So, how do you – in real life and in real time – empower your team?
We offer you the checklist below as a way of measuring your progress as an empowering leader. Think of it as a punchlist for your project of empowering your team. Or, even better, think of the metaphor we often use – of a team climbing up a high mountain together!
Provide Clear Direction
An empowering leader defines the task for the team with crystal clarity. A common misconception about delegation (a component of empowerment) is that it is described by this attitude: “Do your own thing as long as you are within the basic parameters and standards of the organization”. That’s mostly being lazy and settling for less than full alignment.
Empowering direction-giving sounds more like this: “See that mountain? We’re going to climb it together, and here’s how”.
Provide Needed Resources
Nothing is more dis-empowering to a team than not having the tools they need to complete the task they have been assigned. As an empowering leader you make it a priority to give your people the tools and resources they need to carry out their assignments with excellence and passion.
It sounds like this: “Here is the equipment we need to climb this mountain together. This is how you use it. Trust me, I’ve tested it and everything is safe, secure, high quality, and in adequate supply. Let’s get started!”
Provide Coaching, Support, and Feedback
Along the way, the empowering leader is providing constant, specific coaching (“Here’s our strategy for taking the mountain”, support (“You’re doing great – here’s what I can give you for your next steps”) and feedback (“OK, let’s set up camp for the night, reflect on what we learned today and focus on how we can get even better tomorrow”)
As you get ready to climb your next mountain as a team, review this list together. Does your team have the direction, resources, feedback, support, and coaching it needs? Does each team member know that they are needed and valued and that their very best efforts will rejuvenate them and help the team win?