If you want to get the most out of your team, you have to do more than acknowledge their existence. You need to proactively empower them to improve and grow (both in their personal and professional lives).
Here are some ideas:
Provide the Right Resources
So often, business owners and managers expect their employees to perform at a high caliber without actually providing them with the resources they need to be successful. If you want your employees to operate at peak levels, you have to empower them. One of the ways you do this is by giving them adequate resources.
Adequate resources include the right training, software, tool, processes, and autonomy to perform. You can’t cheap out on this front. Pay for quality resources, or else suffer the consequences.
Delegate to Develop
Every entrepreneur or business owner goes through a stage of growth where they think they’re the only person who can do a certain task. Part of building a business is embracing the reality that this isn’t true. Instead, you have to come to terms with the power of delegation.
Delegation does two things for you. First off, it clears your plate of time-consuming tasks and leaves you with a manageable workload. Secondly, delegation gives employees learning opportunities. The more you delegate, the more you develop. It’s the best training tool you have.
You might think you know how your employees are doing and feeling. But do you really? People will put on a smile and lie through their teeth just to avoid ticking off their boss. To be quite frank, you can’t believe anything an employee tells you to your face. Most of them will just tell you what you want to hear.
If you want to understand your employees (which is an important precursor to empowering them), it starts with gathering reliable feedback. One quick and easy way to do this is by tracking an employee Net Promoter Score, also known as an eNPS. This can be done via anonymous surveys.
Encourage Time Off
You can’t expect your employees to work all the time. Work-life balance is critically important to the health and well-being of your company. Support this quest for balance by encouraging time off.
It’s not enough to give your employees vacation days and personal leave. Make sure they’re actually using it! Require employees to use their days. If they’re having trouble doing so, implement a system of consequences where they actually get penalized for not taking time off. (That’s one way to get people to listen!)
Want your employees to become more skilled and better equipped to carry out their duties? Give them every opportunity to grow as people and as professionals. Support their self-improvement in any way you can.
Is there a 60-day online course they want to take to learn a new skill? Pay for them to go through it. Do they need to cut back their hours temporarily in order to finish a degree? Give them the assurance that they’ll be able to resume full-time hours upon completion.
“If you can't lend your employees financial support for their development, at least be flexible with their schedules to a certain degree,” entrepreneur Peter Daisyme writes. “Allowing your salesperson or HR representative to leave half an hour early every Thursday for community orchestra practice can do wonders for their well-being and work ethic.”
Support and flexibility go a long way towards making people feel empowered. A little investment now can produce amazing long-term rewards.
Let your employees know that you appreciate them and the valuable skills they bring to the table. You can do this by offering bonuses, awards, public recognition, or even flexible perks (like additional time off).
When employees feel appreciated, they feel seen. As a result, they’re much more likely to put in hard work in the future. It makes them feel empowered to continue producing.
Power to the People
The days of tall organizational structures are quickly going out of style. Today, the organizations that are winning are excelling with flat structures that allow talented and responsible people to make their mark. Hand-holding and micromanaging are out. Autonomy and empowerment are in. The sooner you get on board with this movement, the better!