One of the opportunities of leadership rests in the ability to raise up the next generation of company leaders. Leaders are given the responsibility to educate and train the future influences in their organization. Many leaders I’ve worked work express challenges empowering teams to take initiative in the workplace. The basic concept involves having worker able to solve problems, face challenges, and make decisions without the need for constant support. This may appear complicated, and many opportunities exist to empower team members to grow in their initiative and leadership potential. Here are three ways to empower your team to take initiative.
1. Give responsibility – Team members can feel overloaded in the amount of tasks and to-do items assigned. Often, these tasks support a greater project or purpose. Rather than assign tasks for a project, take the occasion to appoint someone as lead on a section or project. This experience will allow the individual to take ownership of something greater than an action item, promoting initiative and drive to spearhead a developing task.
2. Delegate tasks with scheduled touch points – Leaders often feel bogged down due to abundant emails, questions, and touch points regarding projects. During delegation of tasks, or appointment of section/project leaders, schedule a touch point ranging from two days to a week out. Emphasis the touch point will review progress, answer any questions, and give needed direction for the project. The knowledge of a future conversation encourages individuals to continue working through questions, proactively making decisions knowing support is just around the corner.
3. Praise the positive – Capitalism creates an environment where progress becomes expected rather than praised. Team members in your charge need the development of confidence and knowledge, regardless of age, experience, and past achievements. When smart actions, decisions, or creative responses occur, give team members direct encouragement. Praise for a job well done develops necessary confidence to perform similar tasks in the future without hands on support. Encouragement develops inertia for individuals to grow as employees, managers, and leaders. If they performed a task in the past with affirmation of a job well done, they are more likely to move ahead without questions in the future.
A favorite aspects of parenting is watching my son struggle with an activity one day, only to have it learned the next. Learning to step aside and allow my son to struggle is difficult for me, yet it gives him the opportunity to grow. This mirrors the job of leaders. Empowering team members involves challenging them in productive ways, creating chances to learn new things and grow as team members.
Empowering a team to take initiative may appear challenging, yet intentional acts can foster powerful initiative. Through creating opportunities to develop skills, traits, and characteristics in team members, they have the option to grow as a person and in skills. Utilizing three acts, giving responsibility, delate tasks with scheduled touch points, and praise the positive, promotes an environment when team members can grow in their abilities, specifically the ability to take ownership of a projects or tasks. Leading this change starts with small acts of support, creating team members confident in their abilities, potential support, and the ability to grow.