For those of you who have read Dan Pink’s book, Drive, you will recall that he purports that the three elements of motivation are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. I suggest that those are all elements of successful empowerment, as well. However, without customization to an individual’s desire, ability, and capacity, we may leave them feeling overwhelmed with additional work or micromanaged in a sea of too much information.
How do you strike a balance between those extremes to tap into the talent around you while providing direction, development, and discretion?
As with so much effective leadership, preparing in advance, communicating clearly, and having regular conversations can bring out the best work, unique solutions, and motivated team members.
Tip #1: Take Inventory of Your Team Member’s Genius
You and everyone who reports to you have a native genius; this genius determines their flow state.
For example, some are more naturally focused on tasks, others on people, another on activity, and finally, a fourth group on data.
Their ability may be in creation, communication, consultation, or calculation.
Knowing how someone is instinctually wired will help you as a leader empower them with the kind of information/communication to help them feel the empowerment you are about to offer.
At Leader’s Cut, we use the profiling tool Talent Dynamics to help leaders understand themselves and those in their care. If your organization doesn’t have this particular tool, you can still determine native strength through conversation (and effective listening skills).
Knowing your team will ensure they feel as empowered as you intend. Also, you can make this kind of conversation an essential element in their development plan to engage, motivate, and retain.
Tip #2: Communicate the details, resources, and expectations.
Some people prefer as much information before a new assignment, while others want to know the desired outcome to decide the rest.
Irrespective of where your team member lands on the spectrum, clarity is the next tip to effective empowerment.
Once you have an inventory of their talents, have a conversation describing:
- The scope of the assignment
- The measure of success
- Your expectations
Start with a high-level headline and add details according to how they work best.
A critical element of empowerment is to begin with “who” through the inventory, then discuss “why” you are assigning the project.
Depending on their type, they will craft questions that trend toward one of four categories:
Flexing toward them rather than wherever your mind is heading will help them feel empowered because you are keenly aware of their needs.
Leave space for the eager individual who wants to get going as quickly as possible and the person with many detailed questions.
Both can be successful when you customize your approach.
Tip #3: Invest the recurring time to assess, revisit, and revise.
Lasting empowerment is a process rather than a single conversation with your team. To ensure success, part of your stated expectations in tip #2 is a timeline, measurables, and conversation to ensure success.
Like any goal, making it SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely will create confidence through clarity.
Confidence Through Clarity
By setting a timeline to discuss progress, you create a path for any style to be successful.
The detail-oriented person will be able to ask clarifying questions while being challenged to think in new ways.
The creative will be asked to discuss the specifics of their out-of-box thinking. As the leader, you are creating an environment of empowerment where your team grows, develops, and frequently exceeds expectations with their freedom because their individual needs are also being met.
If empowerment is on your list of to-dos to unlock the inherent talent in your team, then coaching could be the fuel that launches you toward the goals you have set for yourself.
At Leader’s Cut, we work with individual leaders and leadership teams to bring simplicity, clarity, and direction. To meet Ken Kilday, Certified Executive Coach and Certified Organizational Development Coach, schedule a quick Meet & Greet and see if you click.
Would you rather kick the tires, determine the possibilities, and experience the coaching process? Then, our complimentary Breakthrough Strategy Session is for you. You will take the Talent Dynamics Profile Assessment and spend time with Ken to articulate, prioritize, and plan initial action steps that move your business forward faster.
What are the possibilities if you had a Coach who advocated, collaborated, and supported your efforts?