When “Me, Me, Me” is Oh So Good
I stopped at a Fairfield Inn just outside of Knoxville, TN with my family on our way down to Florida last week for summer vacation. We were in the breakfast area looking for a pitcher of water, but with no luck. I stopped a hotel associate and asked where I could find some. Her response was,
Sure, no problem – I have some in my gym right over there and have the door propped open for you.
Later that day somewhere in the Carolinas on HWY 26, I came across the following post while browsing my Facebook feed:
What do the hotel associate’s response and FB post have in common? Ownership.
Isn’t it funny how well you take care of things when they’re yours?
That hotel associate in Tennessee was running a stellar show for breakfast – coffee always hot and filled, tables wiped down, service with a smile…she owned the place…and my were her customers happy! Leadership at that establishment definitely knows a thing or two about empowerment.
My FB friend was putting a little glitz and glam into her home…spent her hard-earned resources doing it…and was excited about it. Quite a bit different than how some people treat rental property.
Do you want your employees renting or owning their responsibilities at work?
I think it’s safe to say we all want our team members to be excited about their work and to take pride in it just as in the two examples above.
Below are 4 ways to create a culture of empowerment amongst your team so that they will own their to-do list and contribute successful results to the business:
1. Involve the individuals themselves in developing the What’s and How’s.
What is your team working on and how are they going about accomplishing it? Empowerment is direction without the details. Share the vision, then work with them collaboratively to both create and execute the roadmap.
Just as the homeowner above picked out new granite and countertops, have your employees “pick out” what they want a project, sales presentation, or process to look like. Don’t just have them rent your ways of doing things.
2. Apply a “walk before you run” approach.
Not every team member is going to be comfortable with a culture of empowerment. They are all likely at different stages of their career and have had varying experiences that have shaped their levels of confidence. Recognize this and tailor your approach to empower each one appropriately.
- Toddlers – They are curious but have a lot of questions and still look back for reassurance. You’ll have to be a little more hands-on, but it will pay off in the long run.
- Adolescents – They want to be on their own and typically have the confidence, but still need resources and guidance. Mentoring employees at this stage in their career is very important. Stay connected through check points.
- Adults – You may have more senior level employees on your team who have been around the block a time or two. Keep them challenged by asking them to run with a project that is a bit out of their comfort zone or is new for the company. Harness their rich knowledge by encouraging them to serve as informal mentors to others on the team.
3. Be okay with – no, encourage – mistakes.
Tell your team to make mistakes. Promote a culture of learning alongside your culture of empowerment. The two go hand-in-hand. Use the mistakes as teachable moments to help your team grow.
4. Still be a team.
Everything is better when created in partnership with others. Although each team member will flourish when given ownership of certain tasks, you need to foster a collaborative team environment where everyone is willing and able to lend a hand. My FB friend would have never enjoyed her new granite and cabinets if it weren’t for manufacturers and contractors. Likewise, your team needs to rely on the strengths of those around them to add value to whatever it is they’re working on.
In what other ways have you developed a culture of empowerment? Please share!