Success is not only about numbers and results, but employees are also the key, and keeping them happy and comfortable at work will help your organization leave its competitors in the dust.
To truly empower your employees as a leader, you should build a company culture that helps them make meaningful and measurable differences.
Empowering employees is a key asset for long-term success. Because when people enjoy their jobs, they take more initiative, make their own decisions, and determine their own destinies.
Contrariwise, a lack of employee empowerment leads to disengaged employees who can’t find a reason to do any extra effort beyond their baseline responsibilities.
Mainly your employees see their roles as “work for pay” and nothing more, it’s your duty to motivate them into doing more.
There are many ways to empower employees, but you should be careful because giving employees more freedom and responsibility can have negative consequences if it’s implemented incorrectly. Here’s how to do it right.
1. Empowering doesn’t mean removing the structure
Be careful and do not confuse empowerment with freedom, although empowering is for the most part giving freedom to employees, that doesn’t mean less support, direction, or guidance.
You should always provide guidelines and help when they need it, or else they will be frustrated and confused and won’t be able to do their jobs.
Supervisors are responsible for directing employees, by giving them the knowledge and resources they need to succeed, while also allowing them to have the space they need to fulfill their responsibilities on their own terms. Finding the balance between direction and freedom is the key to successful employee empowerment.
2. Give more information
Make sure to provide all the information your employees need to do their jobs, having enough information will empower them to make their own decisions.
For example, if you don’t make the end goal of a given project clear, employees may miss out on valuable opportunities to improve the finished product and do their work more efficiently or give certain aspects of the project priority over others.
Giving more information means motivating employees to do their jobs more efficiently, making them feel more involved, and giving them a sense of ownership which will in return lead to better results.
3. Foster open communication
Communication is a critical soft skill for all professionals. To succeed as a leader, you need to not only be a strong communicator but a great listener.
To leverage your communication skills and drive employee empowerment you have to foster open dialogue.
Research shows that workers whose managers are approachable are more engaged. This cultivates an environment wherein members feel comfortable sharing ideas and challenging one another.
4. Keep your employees accountable
Holding your employees accountable for their responsibilities will empower them to take genuine ownership of their work.
When people take ownership of their work, they are more likely to put in extra effort and feel pride in the success they achieve.
5. Mentor through mistakes
With this leadership style, managers should empower employees to own their mistakes and guide them to design a resolution strategy.
Mentoring employees through their mistakes will give them space to grow and create a culture of growth and resilience.
6. Delegate problems, not tasks
Delegate problems as in “Go figure out what’s going on and come up with a plan for how you’re going to fix it and what you need to do so.” Give them autonomy, respect, and resources, and just stand back. You will be amazed at how energized and creative they can be when you give them ownership.
7. Support growth opportunities
Learning and growth opportunities fuel employee empowerment. According to research by LinkedIn, employees who spend time learning at work report that they are:
1. 47% less likely to be stressed
2. 39% more likely to feel productive and successful
3. 23% more ready to take on additional responsibilities
4. 21% more likely to feel confident and happy
8. Show empathy
Empathy is one of the most important traits a leader can have. According to a study by Businesssolver, 91 percent of CEOs believe empathy is directly linked to a company's financial performance, and 93 percent of employees say they're more likely to stay with an empathetic employer.
Try to understand your employees’ points of view by putting yourself in their shoes. By considering their perspectives, you become a more emotionally intelligent leader and make your team members feel like they’re understood and valued.
9. Deliver honest feedback
As a leader, one of your key responsibilities is enabling your team members to do their best work. Deliver honest feedback on their performance to make them feel empowered in their roles.
When giving feedback, be honest and clear, and make sure to highlight your employees’ strengths to boost motivation.
To conclude, recognizing and empowering your employees takes work, but if you do it right, these employees will reach their fullest potential, feel more comfortable in their learning process, and become more productive and creative. In return, these employees will become more loyal and have a strong impact on the company’s overall success.