Empowered teams collaborate, tapping their members’ varied strengths to obtain better results. Last month, we talked about moving from delegation to empowerment and the value in empowering your team. This month, we're focusing more on the process of empowerment.
What does that mean and how do you go about it?
Definition of Empower
When speaking of empowerment and empowering team members, the following definition captures what we are referring to, “Make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.” Empowered team members possess confidence in contributing their best to the team. They know the value they bring and they embrace their contribution.
The Process of Empowerment
The process of empowering your team involves assessing strengths, matching strengths to the needs of your organization, and then teaching, training, and equipping them to address those needs. The final (and most important) step is trusting them by letting go, releasing control, and freeing them to use their strengths to accomplish the goals leading to your business vision.
Role of the Leader in Empowerment
When you understand the strengths of your team, you can utilize each person's highest contribution to make your team the best possible. Understanding the needs of your organization and how each person contributes to reaching your goals is a key role of the leader. Leaders also need to provide the specialized teaching, training, and equipping of team members to meet the goals. You don't have to teach, train and equip them by yourself, but you are responsible for making sure people get the knowledge and skills needed to work on your team. We'll explore teaching, training and equipping in an upcoming blog post.
Empowerment and Motivation
When your team has been empowered, you have,
- Taught them about your company and your vision.
- Trained them in the way you do things in your organization.
- Equipped them with the necessary resources to accomplish their responsibilities.
Knowing you have done these steps, you can trust them more easily and be be rest assured that they know how to do the work they’re empowered to accomplish. Setting them free to accomplish this work taps their intrinsic motivation, as Daniel Pink shares in his book, Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
Pink says there are three areas of that motivate individuals: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. When your team members chose to join your team, they signed on to the vision and purpose of your business. Letting go taps into the intrinsic motivation of each team member,
- Their autonomy in contributing their strengths to the team.
- Their mastery of seeing new and higher ways to contribute their best to the team.
- The purpose in which they believe and can contribute to through being on this team of people working toward a common goal.
All of these factors contribute to the team’s connection to the vision toward which we’re working. As the leader, focus each person on how their contribution moves you all closer to the goals and vision set before you. Your team has been assembled to accomplish the vision you shared. Give them the opportunity to use their strengths in service of the vision and let them fly!