As a leader – whether new or seasoned – you’re probably always looking for ways to be the best that you can be.
Perhaps you have a role model from a previous position who you strive to emulate, or maybe you’ve heard stories about great leaders. As a leader, it’s your goal to be the best and empower employees.
Even though leadership styles vary from one individual to another, the best leaders all have one thing in common: they empower employees. The days of staying behind closed doors and remaining unapproachable are gone; the best leaders in the world work to provide empowerment from day one.
Want to learn more about how to empower employees? Follow the five steps below:
1. Learn What You Can and Remember It
Getting to know your employees or team members better doesn’t mean becoming their best friend. In fact, that approach can be accompanied by its own challenges and difficulties down the road. However, learning what you can about their personalities, families and goals is an excellent first step to building positive professional relationships.
Ways to get to know your employees include:
- Sharing about yourself. The more open you are, the more likely they are to reciprocate.
- Asking questions early. When a new employee comes on board, get to know him or her.
- Finding out what motivates them.
- Asking about their goals for the company. Would they like to grow, to move up the ladder, or to see improvements in certain areas?
Once you’ve asked questions and learned what you can, remember it. Ask how certain projects outside of work are going, check in for updates and send information that might be relevant to them. A leader who understands his or her team members is on the road to empowerment.
2. Recognize Achievements
Employees who feel as though their achievements are recognized are more likely to strive for better things in the future. As a leader, you can easily provide this recognition.
When you notice an employee has done something above and beyond, even something small, consider the following:
- Thank them for their hard work when you pass them in the hall, or make a trip to their cubicle/office to do the same.
- Bring it up at your next staff meeting.
- Highlight it in your staff newsletter.
- Send out a group e-mail mentioning that achievement.
Recognition often equals empowerment. Don’t miss this step.
3. Jump in When You Can
There’s nothing worse than feeling alone on a project. As a leader, there’s no reason you cannot jump in from time to time.
When you notice an employee struggling to meet a deadline or working late – even if you’re ready to leave for the evening – find out what you can do. Offer to help in a particular area or provide suggestions for making the process easier. When you’re willing to work with an employee to meet a deadline, you’re providing the empowerment they need to push forward instead of becoming discouraged.
4. Create Challenges
Even though you’re willing to jump in to help complete a project, that doesn’t mean that you want your employees to move up the ladder without a challenge.
Challenges can be positive. Challenges in life – and getting through those challenges – often leave the individual in question stronger and more confident. As a leader looking to encourage your team members or employees, creating challenges is critical.
When you have a project that might be easier for you to finish yourself, consider assigning it out. Lay out the terms so the employee in question understands his or her role. Set clear expectations and deadlines, and make it clear that your door is open to ensure the project is completed adequately. Creating challenges creates opportunities for growth. Growth is empowering; therefore, a leader who creates challenges is empowering his or her team.
5. Encourage Reaching for Greater Things
In order to become all that you can be, sometimes a push in a different direction is needed. Strong leaders understand this and encourage their employees to reach for the best.
Methods for accomplishing this include:
- Setting up a scholarship program that allows employees to gain assistance as they strive for something new.
- Looking for programs and seminars that might relate to certain employees and encouraging them to attend.
- Setting up an allotment for each employee to join membership organizations and to attend educational events.
As a leader, one of your top priorities should be to empower employees. Start with the methods above and look for new ways to provide for the well-being of your employees. Your team will grow as a result.
How do you Empower Employees?
If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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