Powerful Leadership: 9 Ways to Empower Your Team
Updated: Mar 8, 2019
The best measure of a good leader is one that creates other good leaders. The following concepts invite your team members to step up to responsibility and steep learning curves as they learn how to lead.
Increasing the team’s awareness of your perspective gives them a glimpse into your daily process, not to mention an appreciation of the various burdens you shoulder. Giving them autonomy and responsibility gives the team focus on the work instead of distracting power struggles and blind executions of work.
“Why should you have all the fun? ”
If, at the moment, you don’t think all team members can manage yet, then focus on a deputy leader (even an unofficial one) and the few that can – and maybe find some crucial time to sit with the others to cultivate one item at a time, openly sharing the criteria in which they could self-evaluate their future and leadership skills!
1. Planning the Work
Ask the team for a plan, don’t set one. Looking ahead, assessing tasks, coordination with others, resources needed – yeah, why should you have all the fun? If the plan is flawed, point out the hiccups and ask for a revision.
2. Time Ownership
Let the team members calculate their own deadlines. This gives them ownership of their time and important milestones of a project. Those also go into the plan, which they have created, not inherited from management.
3. Network & Communication
Request regular updates. Do it enough times that the team develops a habit of volunteering them. Also require the team updates other teams and departments and for other teams to provide updates to yours. Steadily, communication becomes part of the team’s DNA, which also makes it much easier for you to report to higher up.
4. Collective Voices
Hear them out. When it’s time to overcome obstacles and make decisions, ask them for their input. Acknowledge their contribution. Final responsibility and decision is still with you as leader, but team members have been heard. In turn, parcel out increasing responsibilities and decisions that falls in each person’s purview, and also a few that extend them a little further.
5. Persistent Practice
Set structures so the team runs itself, whether they are brainstorming, planning, collaborating, problem-solving or reporting. The group should know the drills for the days you are elsewhere. They should know them well enough they can teach others – now we’re talking about true signs of leadership.
6. Cultivating Ideas
Reward innovations with recognition and credit in front of others. Reject substandard work at updates, instead of micromanaging. The team quickly learns to get it right first time than to have to go through the process a few times, and their talent will find the best ways to do it. Let them surprise you.
7. New Tools, Better Work
Ask for regular tool inventories. When the team examines the resources and processes currently in place for the work, the members may well recognize better, quicker, cheaper methods to get things done. Let the team learn not to fear upsetting the status quo.
Require thorough records of notes and steps. The practice forces them to notice details, and provides useful maps for future reference and improvements.
9. Big Picture
Ask the team to set their goal for the year, so they see the big picture and remain aligned with the goals of the organization.