7 Ways to Empower Your Team
It’s nearly impossible to accidentally empower your team. It takes being intentional along with a generous dose of creativity, a splash of imagination, and, of course, a whole lot of vision. It all starts with the ability to see the potential in your people before it’s fully visible.
Have you ever known someone who was on the hunt, seeking out inexpensive items or trash that they could ingeniously turn into amazing treasures? For some it’s a hobby, others sell their re-envisioned creations, and some create them to add personal touches to their own homes. Whatever the reason for the repurposing, it’s obvious that those gifted with the art of repurposing have the ability to see the potential in the items they rescue and that they have the skills and patience necessary to transform them into something valuable.
In the same way, great leaders are blessed with the ability to spot individuals with untapped potential. They see skills, strengths, and natural abilities that others might miss. But seeing is not enough! It’s the way those great leaders nurture and develop those individuals that ultimately brings out the very best in them. That might happen as a result of the mentoring a leader provides, stretch opportunities the leader creates, or intentional development opportunities a leader offers their people such as training and/or professional coaching.
Just a quick side note…
Lest you take my analogy too seriously…individuals with potential are not “cast offs, trash, or junk,” although all too often they are overlooked and undervalued!
As a secure leader, you do everything possible to empower your people and make sure that they get the credit they deserve. You know as people develop and grow that your team’s performance will improve. That reflects well on you, the leader, and on your team too!
On the other hand, an insecure leader hangs onto power and takes all the credit for positive results. They also tend to blame others when something goes wrong.
I would guess that you aspire to be a secure great leader, right? And I would also venture to guess that you believe you are doing what it takes to earn that great leader badge. However, in reality, you might be overlooking some of the ways you are dis-empowering your people. Here are just a few possible examples:
- Rarely letting them make difficult decisions or giving them opportunities to stretch
- Handling mistakes or failures in “unsafe” ways
- Being stingy with the “high-fives” and/or rarely celebrating successes
- Limiting resources
- Hanging on to responsibilities
- Failing to provide clear expectations
- Not inviting feedback or offering feedback in constructive ways
- Ignoring your team’s insights, thinking you know best as the leader
What if you could take an ordinary team and transform that team into a treasured team of empowered individuals? How would that alleviate some stress for you and enable your team to accomplish more? Most importantly, what would it take to make that possible? Here are 7 ways to begin empowering your team:
1. Hunt for Treasures
Those eager to repurpose discarded items and turn them into something of value are perpetually on the hunt for potential treasures. They scour yard sales, thrift stores, swap meets, and even engage in some dumpster diving.
Leaders that empower their people are eagerly hunting as well! They are on the lookout for people who…
- Have a great work ethic and are fully engaged in their work
- Don’t give up
- Care about the company or organizations vision and goals
- Have excellent communication and listening skills
- Take responsibility and follow through and own up to mistakes
- Are hungry to learn and grow
- Have initiative and drive
- Inspire, motivate, and help other people
- Have a positive outlook and attitude
- Are honest and humble
- Ask questions and are okay with asking for help
- Are organized and able to prioritize
- Focus and adapt to change well
- Are ambitious and work well with others
- Know their limits and their strengths
- Have a high level of emotional intelligence
Leaders with an eye for potential don’t hesitate to bring on undeveloped talent onto their team if they spot qualities like those listed above. With those kinds of people on their team, they go the extra miles to harness that potential.
When an individual’s strengths and abilities are underutilized, it’s discouraging, and may even cause them to move on.
Do you know how to spot a leader who believes in his or her people? Here are a few signs…
- Providing stretch opportunities
- Including the team in decision making
- Encouraging risks and making it safe to make mistakes
- Inviting feedback
- Being generous with praise and information
- Showing genuine appreciation and thanks
- Keeps the vision alive and helps people connect the dots and see how they contribute to the vision
- Establishing clear expectations and priorities
- Facilitates more than dictates
- Interacting with respect
When someone believes in you, really believes in you, it has an undeniably positive impact! Have you experienced working for someone with that kind of belief in you? I know I have and it’s incredibly motivating!
3. Invest in Relationships
A great leader knows that influence doesn’t happen from afar. Influence is most powerful in the context of relationship. That’s why it’s crucial to invest relationally in the people you lead.
The bonus: relationship also cultivates trust and makes addressing difficulties easier when they arise. Plus, people work harder for those they know, like, and trust!
4. Create Safety
Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s a stepping stone to success. Leaders who get this make space for people to take risks, try new things, and make mistakes. They know that’s how people learn and grow, and they desire to see their people advancing that way.
5. Be Generous
In order to empower your people, you will have to release some authority, responsibility, and resources followed by generously appreciating and praising their efforts when they get it right. Mind you, this is not a hands-off approach, but rather an opportunity to lead by inquiry – asking great questions to urge your people to thoroughly think through and explore a given task, project, or goal and then setting them free to go about getting the desired results their way.
6. Adopt an Abundance Mindset
Do you know what is hindering you most when it comes to empowering your team? Your mindset! When you believe power is scarce and something you need to hang on to, your team will suffer and lack what they need to shine.
On the other hand, when you believe there’s an abundance of power – plenty to go around – you’ll naturally operate with open hands and see ways to utilize your people better and be more willing to hand off some of your many responsibilities.
A great leader isn’t the one doing it all, they are the one seeing that it all gets done!
7. Plug Into the Source
It takes a confident leader to assemble a team with untapped potential and trusting that are up to the task. And it takes confidence to not be threatened by your team when they outshine you in some areas – and they will! That kind of confidence arises out of regular time spent with God where you…
- Meditate on just how deeply God loves you and what He’s sacrificed to make you His own
- Dwell on Truth
- Lean on Him to lead, guide, and help you
- Trust Him to make up for your lack
- Allow Him to transform you and enable you to love your team well
- Recognize that He’s the source of everything!
From that place, you are much better prepared to invest in your team and empower them.
If your team was growing, thriving, and able to take on more responsibility, what would be possible?
When it comes to empowering your team, what’s your next step – one thing you can do differently to realize a little more of the untapped potential your people possess?
Thank you very much, I will continue to reread this article.
Everything you write about leadership, I’m interested in. I always pray to God to guide me on how to Lead the movement I’m starting to change Africa.
Ohhh, I also realized that I have the ability to find potential in people, and how it can be useful.
How to motivate your Team, my Mentor from America, told me that according to great people he saw the history, is that I must be a good Orator.
Thank you so much, I’m going to put in the effort
Great to hear from you Ishema! I know you are eager to be a great leader and make a difference there. Praying God will bless your efforts!
Yes you are right, Thank you
You are very welcome!