The best way to lead your team to accomplish a goal is to empower your team to do their job. Empowering someone simply means giving them the authority to do something. Beneath this transfer of authority (or “power”) is an expression of trust between the leader and the employee. A team member who is empowered to do something is given the responsibility to complete a task to the best of their ability, which allows for creativity and builds a sense of ownership. A team member who is responsible for generating a solution will be dedicated to create the best possible solution because their time, energy, and focus is invested in the outcome. Empowerment is the opposite approach of telling your team exactly what to do and essentially treating them like robots.
A leader can empower their team by following these steps:
- Communicate your intent, not how to do something. Your intent should describe a problem or objective,
and what it would look like to solve or meet it. Be broad with your intent and resist explaining how to do
everything, and instead, empower your team to develop the solution. Provide only the details that are necessary to describe what a successful solution or outcome looks like.
- Provide resources for your team. You have just empowered your team to solve a problem and what it looks like to achieve a final objective. You should not expect a great solution if they do not have
everything they need to succeed. It is your leadership duty to provide your team the resources they need.
- Trust your team. When you empowered your team to meet an objective, you told them you trust their
abilities. Preserve that trust by giving them time and space to do their job.