Empowering Employees in Small Business.
As a small business owner, your want to create a work environment in which people are productive, empowered, contributing, and happy. To be able to achieve this, you must trust them to do the right thing. Hobbling them by limiting their tools or information is not going to help. Get out of their way and watch them catch fire.
Here are some important principles for managing people in a way that reinforces employee accomplishment, empowerment, and contribution. These management actions enable both the people who work with you and the people who report to you to soar.
- Include employees in the actual planning on the product and department level and ask for their input on the overall plan.
- They will own the direction and surprise you with their commitment and competency.
- Help people feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves and their individual job.
- Do this by making sure they know and have access to the organization’s overall mission, vision, and strategic plans.
- Trust is a fundamental factor in empowering employees.
- When employees receive clear expectations from their manager, they relax and trust you.
- Trust the intentions of people to do the right thing, make the right decision, and make choices that, while maybe not exactly what you would decide, still work.
- Your trust makes them focus their energy on accomplishing, not on wondering, worrying, and second-guessing.
- Your goal is to demonstrate your appreciation for each person’s unique value.
- Your regard for people shines through in all of your actions and words. Your facial expression, your body language, and your words express what you are thinking about the people who report to you.
- No matter how an employee is performing on his or her current task, your value for the employee as a human being should never falter and always be visible.
Listen and Ask
- Give them a chance to communicate with you.
- Let them know that you are listening to them.
- Ask questions.
- Guide them with your questions, instead of telling them what to do.
- Frequent feedback helps people know how they are doing.
- Sometimes, the purpose of feedback is reward and recognition as well as improvement coaching.
- People deserve your constructive feedback too, so they can continue to develop their knowledge and skills.
- The basic need of every employee is money.
- This must be met, if you want your employees to give you their discretionary energy, that extra effort that people voluntarily invest in work.
- When employees feel under-compensated, under-titled for the responsibilities they take on, under-noticed, under-praised, and under-appreciated, they do not give their best to work.
- Recognition plays a significant role in employee empowerment.
- The worst you can do when a problem arises is to identify and punish the guilty.
- When a problem occurs, ask what is wrong with the work system that caused the people to fail, not what is wrong with the people.
Share Goals and Direction
- Involve employees in goal setting and planning, whenever possible.
- They add value, knowledge, ideas, insight, and experience that you won’t find on your senior team.
- With the help of your employees, make progress on goals measurable and observable, or ascertain that you have shared your picture of a positive outcome with the people responsible for accomplishing the results.
- At the very least, involve them in goal setting on the department level and share the most important goals and direction for your group.
- Don’t just delegate work; delegate authority.
- Don’t just delegate the drudge work; delegate some of the fun stuff, too.
- Your plate will be less full, so you can concentrate on contribution.
- Your reporting staff will gratefully shine – and so will you.
- Delegate an important meeting, the committee memberships that influence product development and decision making, and the projects that people and customers notice.
- The employee will grow and develop new skills.
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