May The Force Be With You – Empowering Others
As a leader, you have countless opportunities to be exposed to the various “competencies” of the leadership craft. It is understandable (and perhaps frustrating) that the manner in which these skills are portrayed in whichever media you have chosen (including this blog) do not necessarily come with a full proof plan for absorbing and executing the skill to the highest level.
One theme that I have mentioned as a core expectation of the leader is empowerment. There are a few steps on the road to empowerment, but none of them fool-proof, nor potentially fitting your team or situation. For the purposes of this post, I will start with you. Remember, …it’s always you. Especially to blame.
Empowerment first and foremost means motivating your team. Fred Herzberg’s research on motivation pretty clearly states that while many “motivators” such as working conditions and salary clearly “de-“motivate when not a positive factor, just as clearly do not increase satisfaction when present. Those things that are found to motivate, and thus empower, such as recognition, responsibility, and growth, are in your power as the boss. And, as the primary reason that people leave a job continues to be your ilk and the many shortfalls in providing those motivators, we appear to have room for improvement.
First up, is you. If you hate your job, are stressed out, view things as an adversity rather than opportunity, and hate change, so will your team. So stop it. Now.
Next, pay attention to what your organization is doing and make it part of your human strategic planning process, i.e., appraisal time. No matter how fired up the team is over what they are doing, if it doesn’t track the big picture, how better off is the organization? Every person on the team should have a clear idea how what they do affects the bottom line. Track how they are helping to achieve those goals, and celebrate when they are met.
While you are aligning the efforts of the team with the mission, you should take advantage of any opportunity to find out what motivates them as individuals. This is done by listening and observing. So shut up and MBWA. MBWA is an opportunity for some no-pressure one-on-one, and an excellent time to catch people excelling. When you see it, say something. If you can’t do it right away, do it as soon as possible.
Lastly, motivation, and by extension, empowerment, is a process. Things change all the time but the people remain. Think of motivation as an ongoing process that the organization builds its change around, rather than a task to be utilized every time a new policy or copy machine is rolled out.