Using Empowerment & other Techniques for Building a Team that is more responsible, creative & productive.
Building a Team: < Micro-Manage; > Empowerment, Enrich Jobs, Quality Councils, Care & Share, Flexibility, Sociable, SCARF.
Companies that “empower” their Team – as the best way of Building a Team – experience much better financial results than companies that lack employee empowerment. As the study concludes, empowering employees with the ability to learn & improve faster than competitors, results in the best sustainable advantage. Empowered employees are good for business. Here are some ideas for empowering your employees so they, in turn, can strengthen your business:
1. Empowerment: Letting your Team make their own Decisions. Nothing is better in building a team than having a voice in the decision-making process – when it comes to areas that affect their work. The people who are best qualified to make decisions about customer issues, for example, are usually those closest to the customer. But, in an interview with Pepperdine University, Steven Bilt, CEO of Bright Now, he cautions that even your best employees will inevitably make some wrong decisions. If that happens, Steve says, you need a culture that says to employees, “Try to Fix it yourself. If you can’t fix it, elevate it to the next level & we’ll help you fix it.” Fear is the antithesis to empowerment. Eliminating the fear of making a mistake is one of the keys to truly empowering people to allow their greatest achievement.
2. < Micro-Manage; > Empowerment. Let people do their jobs without interfering—micro-managing people stifles them and makes them less likely to give their best. Eddie Kreinik, CEO of MagicInk Interactive, talks about how he went from micro-managing to letting his employees “shape the business.” The result was not only happier workers, but greater success for his company than he would have achieved had he continued to micro-manage. Everyone craves a sense of autonomy – a feeling that they can direct their own lives. In this Animate, “Drive: The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us,” author Dan Pink reveals that autonomy is at the top of the list of what motivates people. Want strong, productive, happy employees? Hire the best, give them clear goals & broad parameters, then allow them discretion & freedom on how they do the work. They’ll probably surprise you with their ingenuity.
3. Enrich their Jobs – when Building a Team. Give people more authority within their functional areas, such as eliminating some approval steps to deal with day-to-day issues, or assigning some responsibilities – usually reserved for managers. Think about rotating jobs to allow employees to become cross functional. Take some inspiration from this model in structuring how people do the work. 1) One of the precepts of this model is to help people “own” what they do by paying attention to what’s known as “task identity.” This means allowing a person to complete something they’re working on, from start to finish, so they can claim responsibility for the final output. Most everyone wants to sign-off on their own work. 2) Another way of looking at this is getting people “invested” in their jobs. An example of an entrepreneur who does this well is Angela Kim, founder of Savor Spa. Kim says, “Employee management comes down to one thing: Ownership. How much are you invested in this?” As a a self-starter, Kim wanted things done in her own style, until she learned to let her staff have a hand in creating treatments for clients. Treat people as owners, not hired hands. This empowerment produces results that are good for building a team, growing customers & your business.
4. Establish Quality Councils – which are an “empowering” alternative to keeping employees limited to the narrow scope of their original function (ie, job description). Choose a few talented employees who are skilled at problem solving, and give them a work-related challenge you’re trying to solve. Let them analyze the situation and present solutions. The more they do this, the more creative they will become.
5. If you Care, Share. Not sharing information is the most dis-empowering thing you can do. A study by George Mason University showed that – apart from interesting work & appreciation for work well done – a feeling of being “in on things” tops the list of what many employees want. Sharing information ensures that everyone on the Team understands the critical issues & essential tasks required for success. Don’t wait for the monthly meeting to let people know what’s happening. Make use of social networking tools, for example, to share just-in-time information. And don’t be stingy with what you share. In “The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extra-Ordinary Things Happen in Organizations, authors Jim Kouzes & Barry Posner provide a set of questions you can use to gauge if you’re keeping people informed. For example, can everyone in your company answer the five questions below? If they can’t, they’ll be at a disadvantage in knowing how their performance affects other parts of the business.
- How do we make money (profit)?
- Who are our toughest competitors?
- What do customers see as our “differential advantages” in the marketplace?
- What new products or services will we initiate in the next 9-19 months?
- What have our annual profits & revenues been over the past 1, 3, 7 years?
6. Allow more Flexibility. Working in a stifling environment stifles the possibility of enthusiasm & initiative. Eventually, your best brains will walk out the door to seek fresh air elsewhere. One of the simplest ways to “empower” people is to treat them like adults. This means eliminating any stupid rules & overly complex procedures & policies – that slow people down & prevent them from being creative & doing their most productive work. It means allowing people some flexibility in setting their own schedules (if it doesn’t interfere with the accomplishment of goals). It also means designing flexible vacation policies, or allowing some tele-commuting. Worried that loosening the reins might result in chaos? The antidote to this is hiring the right people (people you can trust), then trust that they’ll do the right thing. If you don’t trust them, they don’t belong on your team in the first place.
7. Allow your Team to be more Human & Sociable. Don’t restrict your employees from using their own social tools at work. A recent Microsoft study shows that 39 % of employees feel there isn’t enough collaboration in their workplaces, & 40 % believe social tools help foster better teamwork. Some are even willing to spend their own money to buy social tools. You might also consider allowing a few personal Facebook breaks. A study shown in the info-graphic “The Case for Facebook” by Keas (a corporate wellness company), reveals that a few Facebook breaks can energize employees and make them more productive. Share some personal info and get to know them + who matters to them. The more they feel you care, the more challenges they will share.
8. Keep in mind a SCARF when you are Managing & Building a Team. One of the best things you can do is to keep the SCARF model in mind every day when you manage your people.. SCARF stands for the five drivers that sub-consciously influence people:
Status (their feeling of their position in the pecking order; feeling appreciated), Certainty (a lack of anxiety about their future or about expectations), Autonomy (a feeling that they have choices), Relatedness (feeling safe with others; a sense of trust; a human connection) & Fairness (a feeling of fair exchanges, fair connections with others, and no secrets).
Respecting these five drivers may ultimately be the most powerful way to enable others to act.
9. Lower Employee Stress. It doesn’t matter how many “empowerment” initiatives you introduce. If people are stressed, their focus will be more on minimizing their stress – by paying more attention to what keeps them safe than on what makes your company grow. A highly politicized environment, favoritism, rampant gossip, negativity, big egos & unfairness can all drain mental energy.
Comments: How have you seen “empowerment” work in building a team?
from Open Forum 22 Nov 13 empowered by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz