Effectively Empower Your Employees
If you were to Google “how to be an effective leader”, you would instantly receive more than 900 million options within your search results.
Yet despite all the articles, books, and available leadership trainings, the truth of the matter is— when it comes to being an effective leader there isn’t a one size fits all approach.
That’s because the employees that make up your company are comprised of unique individuals who all bring various levels of experience, skill sets, and characteristic traits. Which means that regardless of how large or small is your team, no two people will have the same personal and professional needs.
While it may take some time to get to know your team and uncover what those direct needs are, if you’re looking for ways to be an effective leader—consider applying these five approaches today to help foster a positive work environment and ultimately empower your employees.
Differentiate Their On-boarding Experience
Nothing can make or break a new employee’s first week more than their initial onboarding experience.
Aside from completing general paperwork and benefits forms, try to think of alternate ways in which your new employee could benefit. While traditional approaches such as office tours and team lunches are likely to be on hold at the moment, you can still find creative ways to make your new employee feel welcomed.
For example, if your team is operating remotely, sending a ‘Welcome Aboard’ box to your new employee’s home that contains various office supplies and company swag is a unique and thoughtful way to say, “welcome to the team!”
Help your new employee become familiar with both direct and in-direct co-workers by setting up one-on-one meet and greet sessions. These informal conversations are a great way for new employees to learn more about their co-workers, the company culture, and the various roles that are held throughout the company.
Lastly, make it a point to ensure that your new employee has everything they need to get started in their role. This includes having all their technology equipment, appropriate access to necessary systems, platforms, and databases, along with any active usernames and passwords that may be needed. For access that is dependent on client actions that are beyond your control, it may not be possible to have everything set up for the employee on their start date. In these cases proactive communication with the employee and periodical status updates about the status of their access is necessary.
Taking these small yet meaningful steps can help set your new employee on the path to success and allow them to feel confident about joining your company
Set Clear Expectations
As a leader, one of the best ways to empower your employees is to set clear and realistic expectations with your team. This is especially true considering a study conducted by Gallup found that nearly half of all U.S. employees don’t know what’s expected of them at work.
To effectively achieve this, make it a point to meet frequently with each member of your team. Depending on your availability, this could be done weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even yearly.
Within your meetings, be sure to clearly identify and discuss all professional responsibilities. This will help eliminate any confusion or uncertainly about their current role and encourage employees to feel more confident in completing their work and reaching their professional goals.
Providing employees with the freedom to take ownership of projects and complete tasks in a manner that works best for them is one of the best ways to formulate a culture of trust and empowerment.
In fact, when it comes to overall job satisfaction, engagement, and employee retention researches at the University of Birmingham found that autonomy plays a significant role.
If providing autonomy is new in your leadership approach, remember that balance is key. You should give enough freedom so that employees can effectively complete tasks on their own, but still remaining available to provide support and advice if needed.
While it may be an initial learning curve for you and your team at first, over time you will find that right balance and established rapport.
Be an Involved Leader
To be an effective leader, it’s important that you remain involved. Even if it’s at a high-level simply knowing the projects your team members are working on, can allow you to better understand current workloads and identify potential roadblocks where team members may need additional assistance.
By keeping an open line of communication, you help demonstrate to your employees that you’re a trusted ally who not only has their best interest in mind, but that you’re supportive in helping them achieve success.
Good leaders are in tune to the fact that the daily work efforts of their team play a significant role in contributing to an organization’s overall success.
Make it a point to frequently recognize employees for both their hard work and achievements. Not only does this boost morale but it creates an environment in which employees feel appreciated. And when employees feel appreciated they gain a sense of empowerment and are naturally inspired to continue their efforts.
Fortunately, as a leader there are a multitude of ways in which you can easily recognize employees and demonstrate the appreciation you have for your team members— both individually and as groups.
Being a leader is never an easy task but taking the time to find small yet effective ways in which you can empower your employees, will help you foster that positive work environment and create a company culture in which your team thrives.
Remember, at the end of the day it’s not just about what you say or do, but how you ultimately make people feel.