How can I empower my employees more effectively?

Does your company tend towards micro-management, or do you empower your employees to make their own decisions?

The answer to that can make a big difference to your employees’ motivation levels, and ultimately, to your company’s performance. Only 4 percent of employees are willing to put in more work than is required when they’re not empowered to make their own decisions; in contrast, 67 percent of employees who are able to make larger decisions independently said they would go the extra mile when required.

That sense of motivation (or lack thereof) translates directly into revenue: Businesses with highly empowered, engaged teams outperformed their competitors by nearly 150% in earnings per share.

So how can you move from a management-heavy model to one in which employees are empowered to gather information and make important decisions on their own?

Encourage managers to ask for new ideas

Managers at your organization should be trained to serve more as facilitators—rather than telling their team members to do things a certain way, they should focus on the end goal and ask them for feedback and ideas on how to get there. Instead of structured meetings, they should focus on brainstorming sessions in which everyone is encouraged to share their own vision and provide feedback on others’ ideas, regardless of seniority level.

Provide positive reinforcement and constructive feedback

In a culture of empowerment, employees need to feel confident in their decision-making capabilities. Help them build that confidence by giving them frequent positive feedback for their work, whether through emails, verbal acknowledgements, or public recognition. And when mistakes happen, rather than criticizing team members, hold constructive, blameless feedback sessions in which you or your managers can walk through the process step-by-step with your employees to understand what went wrong and how to stop it from happening again.

Encourage open discussions in a knowledge-sharing platform

Employees shouldn’t feel that they need to rely on a manager for feedback—they should be able to turn to one another for help at any time. But rather than pull their colleagues away from important projects, give them collaboration tools like a knowledge-sharing platform, where they can ask and respond to Q&As about their current projects or more general company goals or processes. This type of platform encourages everyone within the company to participate and share feedback, and empowers them to gather information and insights to help them make smarter, more informed decisions.

By making a culture shift throughout the organization, you can build an open and collaborative community in which team members are empowered to come up with ideas, ask their peers for feedback, and move projects forward independently. Doing so will result in an agile and creative company that’s able to increase revenue through rapid innovation by an empowered team.

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