How to Empower People to Be Their Best?
We live in a culture that is shifting by the minute. The kind of leader baby boomers aspired to be is different from the kind of leader Millennials and Generation X set their sights on.
The leader of the past was expected to have all the answers and tell their employees what to do. Employees must follow the rules, do what they were told, and pay their dues until they were promoted to a position of authority. In this era, joy at work was a pipe dream. You were told that if you kept your eyes on the prize–power and authority–then you would be “successful.” But what does that mean? In this model, no one is happy and thriving.
Command and control creates an environment in which employees are starved of autonomy and then get drunk on power once they get to the top of the ladder. Everything is out of balance, and the company suffers.
But now command and control is making way for a more collaborative way of leading. The market is demanding innovation at such a rapid rate that endless ideas are needed in order to compete. These endless ideas cannot only come from a leader, but must come from everyone else involved.
Therefore, the essence of leadership is shifting from telling everyone what to do, to empowering others to come up with the best and brightest ideas that have never been thought of before. Here are some powerful ways to empower the people around you:
LISTEN & OFFER ADVICE:
Ask them what their vision is for their career or job. Most people don’t know what their vision is yet. The importance of a vision is that it can guide you in moments of change or in project prioritization. Having a sense of direction not only improves efficiency but is also an easy way to ensure you are learning to motivate yourself.
TEACH + MENTOR:
Make yourself available and hold yourself accountable to support and advise someone when they need it. Deliver that support in a way that makes sense to them, and always, always keeping that person’s best interests in mind.
AFFIRM THEIR STRENGTHS:
Telling other adults what to do isn’t an effective motivation strategy. Instead, focus on recognizing successful achievements. Peer recognition brings fulfillment because it reinforces the meaning of one’s hard work. When you show your respect to one’s achievement, you are likely to boost his or her self-esteem.
GIVE THEM AUTONOMY:
Give them the autonomy to do it on their own. Don’t micromanage–another motivation killer. Give people space. Give your people more freedom than you feel comfortable with–what seems like the scariest thing to do sometimes is the most powerful. Employees who are free to make their own choices about how they go about their responsibilities are happier, committed, productive and loyal. Autonomy may also be the most important factor when nurturing a culture of engagement within a company.