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Lead by Example to Empower Your Team

An empowered team is one that’s on fire. Empowered employees are productive, engaged, accommodating, and leaders within an organization. No task or project is too big or small for them to accomplish. Does this sound like your team?

If not, don’t fret. Cultivating this type of team isn’t something that happens overnight. To build a culture of trust and empower employees, you must lead by example in all areas of your work. What’s more, you have to establish your team members as experts — giving them permission to take action and make decisions within the organization.

Empower your team to own their roles and step up as leaders with these seven tips:  

Build trust

empower your teamWithout trust, an empowered team doesn’t exist. Your employees need to know you have their back at every turn. Empower your team by acknowledging their expertise and giving them the authority to complete tasks and projects without checking back with you on every little detail. While they may not take the same course of action to get to the solution, they’ll learn to trust themselves and do their best work with your support.

Prioritize communication

There’s nothing worse than having a manager who is never around and takes days to respond to an email. No matter how busy you are, communication with your team should always come first. 

This goes beyond having an open door policy. Make yourself available through text, call, email, and impromptu chats as much as possible. Even if you aren’t able to physically be present as much as you’d like, staying accessible and responsive ensures you remain approachable and engaged in the day-to-day work of your team.

Normalize feedback

Clear and consistent communication sets the tone for feedback. Empower your team by creating an environment where expressing ideas, experimenting, and pushing for improvement are a normal part of the day. An empowered team is comfortable sharing ideas and having a productive dialogue, without fear of dissent or push back. Focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses is also a great way to build employee confidence and help them feel empowered.

Delegate to develop leadership

A stressed co-worker once told me she’d been lightheartedly saying to herself, “Don’t cry, delegate,” when tasks became too much for her to handle. Delegating work is challenging because it often means embracing a lack of control. But with trust and communication, delegation breeds leadership and empowerment. 

When you delegate projects to your team, you’re automatically establishing their authority over those specific tasks. This gives them a sense of value and expertise within the organization. Assigning projects to team members both alleviates your workload and allows your team to grow.

Act as a connector

empower your teamAn empowered team is a connected team. Not only with each other but also with the necessary people and resources throughout the company and beyond. 

For example, my communications team regularly interfaces with all departments within our organization to accomplish various tasks and projects. This requires a high level of connection. I’ve made it a priority to connect my employees with specific people and resources so that they can accomplish their tasks without my direct support.

Brag on them regularly

One of the best parts of being a manager is being able to brag on your team every chance you get. Don’t just do this to other department heads or those in the C-Suite. Take time out of your day to send a text or email directly to the employee, specifically highlighting their excellent work. Most importantly, don’t wait for something big to happen to do this. Sometimes telling people how much you appreciate a small act is even more powerful. 

Your team is your most valuable resource; never miss a chance to compliment all their hard work. Remember, reward what you want to be repeated.

Rally around a shared vision

One of the easiest ways to build an empowered team is to share your vision and rally everyone around it. If your employees know where you want the department and the organization to go, they’ll feel empowered to use their talents to make it happen. 

Rallying around a purpose also builds excitement at work, even when it may not be the most exciting task at hand. And even if things change and your vision shifts, your empowered team will be ready to follow you in that direction with clear communication and trust.

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About Brittany Schlacter

Brittany Schlacter is the Communications Specialist at The Rapid, the public transportation authority for Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan and a Director of West Michigan Critter Haven. You can follow her thoughts and animal adventures on Twitter.