Team members who feel empowered may be more likely to make productive choices at work. This means that managers who allow teams more control over their work may help optimize efficiency and improve job satisfaction. If you’d like to enhance your leadership skills, learning about ways to empower the people you work with can be an effective way to do so.
In this article, we share nine of the major benefits of empowering employees and provide tips to help leaders empower a team at work.
What is team member empowerment?
Empowering team members involves helping individuals on a team feel a sense of ownership and independence in their work. This means it involves an exchange of power for a more excellent feeling of investment. Individuals with autonomy to control certain elements of their day-to-day work procedure or who can take advantage of leadership opportunities within their role may feel a greater sense of empowerment at work.
9 benefits of empowering employees
Here are nine benefits of team empowerment:
1. Improved accountability
Accountability is when a team member feels ownership over their work. When team leaders allow individuals to maintain control over their work through empowerment, those individuals may develop a greater sense of responsibility. Specifically, the power to control how they do the work can help them care more about the outcomes. This may result in better work overall.
2. Quicker turnaround
When team members have the autonomy to check their own work, rather than seeking approval for every assignment, it can improve productivity and turnaround times. For this reason, managers might consider granting team members some decision-making capabilities, rather than maintaining total control over their work.
Leaders can test this approach by letting teams resolve minor challenges independently. Once they’re happy with the results, they can empower teams to make even more important decisions so they can resolve challenging situations faster.
3. Better customer service
If team member feels like they can make their own decisions, rather than, for example, following a strict sales script, they may improve their ability to assist clients. To encourage this, leaders might allow individuals on their teams a certain amount of leeway to improvise.
At first, leaders might monitor their results closely and coach them to maintain strong performance metrics. As the team members gain confidence in their judgment and problem-solving skills, they’re likely to provide better customer service.
4. Increased productivity
Team members who feel like they’ve control over their work may naturally contribute higher levels of effort to get the job done. This is because, by empowering team members and encouraging them to take greater control of their work, leaders may help them gain a greater sense of ownership. This can help those team members feel more invested in the outcome. As a result, they may contribute more effort, leading to greater output.
5. Higher rates of job satisfaction
From salary to work-life balance, a wide range of factors affects the average job satisfaction. This includes team member empowerment, as individuals who feel control over their work may also feel more satisfaction when they complete that work.
Higher job satisfaction can have a positive effect on both teams and organizations. Happy individuals get more value from their work, which can improve their quality of life. Satisfied team members are also more likely to stay in their roles longer. As a result, organizations that empower team members often retain talent for longer.
6. Greater initiative
While providing team members with highly specific instructions can ensure that everyone on a team uses the same processes and produces consistent results, this approach can also cause team members to avoid suggesting new processes or other improvements.
Instead, leaders might empower their teams to improve each individual’s initiative. This works because when you give teams space to question processes, they may be more likely to devise smarter strategies and make helpful suggestions. They might also understand that the leader respects their work, which can prompt them to feel more comfortable guiding the team to do better.
7. Better collaboration
Team members who feel a sense of empowerment may be more likely to collaborate and share ideas. This is especially true because often when staff members take responsibility for their work, they may seek advice and guidance from coworkers and managers. Empowered teams often take a more open approach to sharing best practices and helping each other improve their work, leading to a more collaborative atmosphere.
8. More leadership potential
Individuals who have a high level of control over their work may sense that they have greater options for professional growth. As a result, they may attempt to gain leadership skills or aspire to management positions. Due to their greater sense of accountability and tendency to take initiative, they may be more apt to accept or even pursue substantial challenges.
When leaders recognize their achievements and continue to challenge them, they can help the team members realize and develop their leadership potential. Over time, this attitude can help the company fill leadership gaps that open within the organization.
9. Reduced costs
When considering the benefits of team empowerment, it’s important to consider the potential cost savings. Team members who feel empowered may generate lower turnover rates, so organizations often save on recruiting costs. As team retention rates increase, internal experience and productivity levels may rise, leading to lower costs and greater profit margins.
Ways to empower a team
Different empowerment techniques may prove most effective for different individuals according to their strengths, motivations and work styles. Here are several ideas for empowering a team for better success toward individual and company goals:
Define goals and expectations
When individuals have clear goals and a clear understanding of expectations they may feel more capable of completing projects on their own. Setting clear guidelines can also give team members a chance to ask questions at the onset of the project. This prepares them in advance for challenges they might face throughout the course of the project.
Provide resources and tools
Leaders can make sure that the individuals on their team have all the resources necessary both to perform their job and to troubleshoot common challenges that are likely to arise. This way, they may complete the project independently, allowing them to learn to problem-solve on their own. This can both help empower the team member and free up more time for the team lead.
Encourage honest feedback
Those in leadership positions may benefit from being open to receiving feedback from their team. This can be especially helpful when the team is adapting procedures and processes to find more efficient ways of accomplishing their goals. To encourage honest feedback, leaders can use various strategies for giving and receiving feedback, including opening a suggestion box or hosting office hours.
Reward hard work and milestones
Sending an occasional thank you note can show appreciation and help employees know that they’re meeting goals and expectations. Leaders might also consider having conversations with their teams about their successes and the ways they like to receive recognition.
For example, some may prefer monetary gifts and rewards. Others may prefer to receive public recognition during a team meeting, in an email announcement, or on a call-out on the team chat.
Find the balance
While independence can be a great tool for empowerment, an excess of it can sometimes make team members feel separate from the larger team. To ensure a continuous feeling of camaraderie, leaders can check in with team members occasionally and reinforce the feeling that they’re available if the team members desire assistance. Leaders can also invite individuals to lead team-building activities to both encourage empowerment and the feeling of a cohesive team.
I hope you find this article helpful.