Top-down style of leadership is not an effective way of leading people. The mistake many leaders make, whether consciously or not, is to believe that they need to “command” or “shape” their team members. Which can lead to resistance, and, more importantly, unhappy team members.
Fortunately, there’s a powerful way of thinking that can help you to be more effective in getting the very best out of your team members. This thinking includes the shift from being the leader to being the team leader and more importantly a member of your team.
Empowered teams are groups of people working together to accomplish a well-defined goal. They have the authority to make decisions, resources to reach the goal, and the right skillset. As the team leader, you aren’t absent, you work alongside your team supporting, empowering, and coaching the team to reach their goal.
Use these top 5 strategies to empower your team.
- Give your team ownership. Let them take control and provide creative input. Give them credit where it is due. Praise them for completing work that has their name on it. When there are mistakes, and there will be, don’t be punitive. Help them figure out what went wrong and learn from it.
- Explain WHAT and WHY, not HOW. Be very clear with what you are asking them to do, and not telling them how to do it. Employees, as well as teams, function best if they are clear on the goal/outcome. Then they can decide how best to meet that goal, adapt, and be flexible as it suits them.
- Listen. Listening intently allows you to really understand what the team is doing, the obstacles they may be running into, and clarify what you are hearing.
- Ask questions. This does three very powerful things. It helps you as their team leader understand the issues, build trust, and helps the team figure out the best course forward.
- Get out of their way. Resist micro-managing the team. Let them come to you if they need more direction, guidance, help. Trust they will deliver. When you empower your team, your job then becomes to nurture the passions and skills of your team – not to try and control their every move.
With an empowered team, you have more motivated, and happy employees. Empowered teams help the employees, you, and the organization by increasing productivity, retaining talent, and more satisfied people.
Reach out if you would like help with shifting your mindset to team leader and empowering your team.