When you hire great talent, you do so with the hope that they will be effective and productive in their work, overcoming challenges and meeting and exceeding goals. But even the best employee can’t accomplish much if they aren’t given the opportunities or the tools to do so. As a leader, you can help empower your staff to do their best work—but first, you’ll have to figure out how.
As leaders themselves, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council have had plenty of experience experimenting and figuring out what motivates their teams best. Below, they each share one tip they’d recommend you consider for empowering your employees to do their best work and why.
1. Give Them Autonomy
An employee’s autonomy is their discretion and control over how to perform their job duties. By granting autonomy to your workers, you enable them to feel less stressed, which improves their confidence to do their best. Employees find they are able to hold themselves accountable for their tasks when they are given the freedom to perform their own work. Also, if they have work flexibility, they can work on tasks when they are most productive. They will therefore be able to produce high-quality work. The better results they see and the better trust they have in their company motivates employees to perform even better in the future. They try to be more creative and innovative. The cycle continues, and the best results are achieved. – Liam Martin, TimeDoctor.com
2. Let Them Answer Their Own Questions
Frequently, my team would ask what they should do or how they should progress. It took me a lot of self-control to stop providing a solution and instead ask them, “What do you think should happen?” This did two things: It told them that I trust their judgment, which helped build their confidence in their decisions, and it also made them stop and think, which is something they had previously put on me when asking their question. Letting them think through a problem is the best way to empower them. – Marjorie Adams, Fourlane
3. Ensure Their Work Fits Their Talents
No amount of conversations, motivational speeches or even disciplinary action is as effective as putting square pegs in square holes. There’s product-market fit, but there’s also talent-task fit. People naturally work better and harder at jobs that fit their talents, skills, personality and even beliefs. So how do you get good at assigning your staff jobs that fit their talents? Empathy. Roll up your sleeves and get to know your employees. When you give tasks, assess performance based on the hard results and the state of mind of your staff members. It’s not an easy-switch solution, but it’s the most effective way to put staff in the right positions to succeed. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS
4. Allow Them Room To Make Mistakes
Allow them to make mistakes, yet mentor them through it as they evolve. Mistakes are a natural part of growing and evolving. We all make mistakes, yet learning from them and not repeating them again paves the way for development. It builds responsibility in companies where employees are allowed to make mistakes and hold themselves accountable for those errors. It also encourages a work culture that is open to taking calculated risks. When employees make mistakes, leaders can help them design resolutions and follow them so that growth is not impeded due to the fear of failure. Give them autonomy and adequate resources, yet don’t breathe down their necks. This will allow creative solutions to form, giving your team space to grow and become resilient in their work paths. – Brian David Crane, Spread Great Ideas
5. Recognize Their Efforts
Recognizing their efforts is one way you can empower your employees to do their best at work. Humans crave recognition. It gives people a dopamine rush that enables them to go the extra mile. Moreover, recognition significantly reduces the likelihood of stress or burnout in the workplace—even under difficult circumstances—and allows you to experience a consistent increase in employee performance. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
6. Help Them Feel Connected
Gen Z employees want to feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to feel connected to the company’s mission and their co-workers. Leaders can empower employees by creating a culture of connection. Share the company’s vision and mission, encourage open communication and foster a sense of community. – Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day
7. Offer Opportunities For Education And Training
Empower employees with upskilling opportunities. If you find that there are many questions around a certain topic or software that has a new feature, hire an expert and educate. Education is empowering. Employees will also feel that you are investing in their future by offering more training. Ensure that managers are not critical when employees are using new skills, and commit to regular training that everyone is open to attending. You will not regret a commitment to educating your employees because it results in a learning culture and better work. Choose training that can also function as a team-building activity for added benefits. This could be communication training, Google training or other training that can be regularly scheduled to get the biggest benefits. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic