Monday, 3 February 2014

How to empower your staff

One of the most challenging skills to learn as a manager is how to empower your staff members. Some may say that it is something that comes with time and experience where others will state you have to be great with people in order to empower your team members.

All of the above are true on some level but experience does not necessarily equate to wisdom and being great with people does not necessarily mean being great at empowering people.

In order for the truth, we must dig a little deeper.

How to empower your staff - Capita Learning & Development
Empower your staff

What is empowerment?

Empowerment is certainly a word that is thrown around in the corporate world but when we really look at what empowerment means, it’s actually a number of things.  First of all it is knowing that your staff members are doing the work not just because they need to or have been told to, but because they want to.  Great work comes from empowered and inspired staff.  This means they have the right amount of management and freedom to feel safe but motivated in their job role.  Secondly, empowerment means the individual wants to continually improve, learn and develop.

The 80/20 philosophy

As a manager it can be a challenge to balance your time in the business, especially in today’s working world. Yet, this ‘balance’ of time is crucial if you wish to have a team who will work hard (and smart) for you day in and day out.

The 80/20 philosophy is based upon how much time you spend doing admin versus how much you are leading and motivating your workforce.

Which way round do you feel is more effective for empowering your staff?

80% leading and motivating with 20% administration or 80% administration with 20% leading and motivating.

There is no exact science behind this philosophy and it’s appreciated that many managers must spend a lot of time on the admin side of their job.  However, this can work as a simple reminder that people are inspired by people and great managers are remembered for how they lead, not how much administration work they do.

How much time are you spending hiding behind your computer?

The majority of people when interviewing for a management position state that they are great with people. Perhaps you stated it when you interviewed for your current position and it may have even been what tipped the balance for you being selected.

A simple but highly effective tip can be to put a post-it note on your computer screen that says something like the following “how many hours have you hidden behind your computer today?”  This can then act as a motivator to go and take a walk around your office to see how your team members are doing, engage in conversation or just to stretch your legs.

Important to remember, do not use this tip to micromanage your staff or be over the top with your support. Just do it because you want to do it, nothing more is required.

Train and develop

Great companies understand the importance of investing time into their most valuable resource, their people and there is no greater way of supporting your team members than continued learning and development. Bruce Lee had the perfect analogy and that was to be like water.  Water when moving stays fresh, it’s only when it stops that it becomes stale or stagnant.  The same can be said for the workplace, team members who are committed to learning and developing themselves stay fresh, however it’s down to the management to lead this process.

Learn to trust

Overall, empowering staff is a continual quest (with no finish line) of learning to trust your staff to do the best job possible because they want to do it.  Managers are always remembered for either making their staff members time at work great or tough.  Perhaps you are already that great manager but it’s always a wonderful thing to do to gently remind yourself that your success is a reflection of your team members' success and that of course takes trust, support and empowerment.

Written by Pete Scott, a learning consultant at Capita Learning & Development.

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