Leaders often assume when hiring or promoting a team member that their previous experience means they don’t need any on-boarding in their new role. This is counter-productive. To hit the ground running and make their highest contribution to the team, team members need an understanding of team culture and systems, along with the equipment they need for success.
Having an empowered team requires a culture of trust. It also involves preparing team members for the roles they'll be taking on in your organization.
How do you prepare your team members to contribute their highest and best work to your organization? Below is three critical steps in the empowerment process:
- Teach your team members what they need to know. While they may be a subject matter expert, you need to teach them your culture, your systems, and your vision.Teaching is imparting knowledge about what you're doing. Your team members need to know the topic you're working with. The level of knowledge will depend on the team member and their familiarity with the subject. Every organization has a perspective regarding their subject matter area that your team members need to understand. How do you share your team’s perspective with new team members?
- Train your team members in the ways that you apply the knowledge you've taught them to the role they hold in the organization. This could involve hands-on learning or role plays, as well as actually interacting in the organization. Have you considered the most effective ways to bring new team members into your system? Training them on how you do things shortens their learning curve and makes them feel more part of the team from day one.
- Equip your team members with the tools they'll need to accomplish their role. Provide them with the resources to do their job on the team; documents, a cell phone, contact lists or hand tools. Be sure they have the tools necessary to complete their tasks.
The Leader’s Role
As the leader, your role is to provide teaching, training, and equipping of your team. You don't have to actually do these activities yourself, but you must make sure it’s done in a way that your team members feel capable of accomplishing their role in the organization. Having team members teach, train, and equip others about their area of the organization can increase their own understanding of how the entire organizational system fits together and their contribution to it.
Dividends of Teaching, Training and Equipping
Teaching, training, and equipping your team is critical to the success of your vision. Time invested up-front in sharing team culture, systems, and equipment pays dividends both in the financial and relationship department. It’s never too late, however if your team seems to be going in different directions, find a way to build common understanding of your business area.
Build relationships so that getting the work done together is enjoyable, rather than a dismal chore to be endured. Team members who feel cared for in this way are more productive and loyal to your team.
As a leader, how do you empower your team? What processes do you have in place so team members are confident that they know the vision and means of accomplishing goals in your company?