Author: Michael Scaletti
Employee motivation is likely the single most important skill any leader can have, and the easiest way for any leader to motivate their employees is to empower them.
Leaders who focus on empowering their employees are shown to have team members that display heightened creativity and passion, while being more proficient at problem solving. Whether you are new to leadership or a seasoned veteran who's been in a leadership role for years, these tips can help ensure you are empowering your employees to develop a culture of success on your team.
1. Earn and Promote Trust
Trust is vital for the success of you team. Research has shown that if you have developed a culture of trust you are more likely to have lower turnover rates, increased engagement and motivation, constant innovation, and high levels of satisfaction.
In order to build that trust, you have to lead by example. Focus on keeping your promises, being honest, encouraging open dialogue, and collaborating to solve problems. If you can do this, your employees are likely to follow your example.
2. Provide Feedback
If you want your team members to be able to do their best work and feel empowered in their roles, than you need to be able to provide clear and honest feedback. Remember that this isn't just about providing critiques on the things they need to improve, it's also about acknowledging the areas in which they have found success. While targeting areas for improvement can be valuable, recent polling has shown that employees who's leaders focus on their strengths are more engaged at work than those who receive feedback focused on weaknesses.
3. Be Empathetic
Empathy is a trait that is often overlooked in leaders, but it is one of the absolute most important that you can possess. Being able to put yourself in your employees shoes and understand their viewpoint helps you direct them towards the roles and duties at which they can best excel. It also helps to make them feel understood and valued.
Nearly half of employees who leave their job do so because they feel underappreciated. That is a huge percentage of turnover that can in large part be solved simply by having enough emotional intelligence to show your employees empathy.
4. Be Communicative
Being able to communicate with your team is a key aspect of being successful as a leader. This doesn't just mean being able to clearly and concisely express yourself, though that is important, it also means learning to be a great listener.
If you are open to your team, and they feel that they can communicate with you freely, they will be more engaged and committed to the team. It also helps to further engender trust between you and your employees. Cultivate independence and community by creating an environment of open communication.
5. Have Goals
You want to empower your team to independently solve problems and seek solutions, but you also want them to stay on track and focused on the overall success of the team. This is where goals come into play. Have periodic meetings with your team where you discuss what the goals should be for the next period, and how you can go about tackling those goals. Then unleash them, and trust them to follow through on the goals you have collaboratively set!
Nobody likes a micromanager. Understand that you can't do everything yourself, nor should you! Figure out where each of your team members' strengths are best applied and then apply them. Make sure that your employees know exactly WHY you are assigning certain tasks to them, as confusion and feelings of office inequity can easily lead to sapped motivation.
Once again, once you've handed off the task, it is absolutely vital that you trust your team to follow through. If they feel as though they are looking over their shoulder the entire time it can quickly build resentment.
7. Foster Growth
The final aspect of empowering your team is ensuring that they have a chance to improve themselves and their prospects. Promote opportunities for education and growth whenever they come up, and support your employees when they attempt to learn new skills, whether formally or through practice.
All too often managers and owners worry about their employees growing out of their role and subsequently losing a valuable employee. Don't! For one thing, if an employee feels stagnant and held back, you are likely to lose them eventually anyway, and for another, showing that the people who work for you have consistently gone on to bigger and better things is an absolute gem of a recruiting pitch. You will be able to attract the best and brightest candidates if they see you as an opportunity and not just a job.