How To Develop An Empowered StaffDo these questions and concerns sound familiar?
- How can I encourage my staff to make logical decisions when management is not present?
- My staff fears making mistakes! How can I encourage calculated risks so our company stays current?
- How can we act as a team, instead of individuals striving for separate goals?
- Training is so important, yet I wonder about the capabilities of some of my staff.
- My staff isn't motivated. They come to work and rush to the back room for coffee. I really want them to mingle with our clients more.
- What can I do to improve morale around here?
The answer to all these questions and concerns is in one word...EMPOWERMENT!!!
Empowerment gives a feeling of confidence to the staff. It provides an inner source of strength, a feeling of confidence to act on your own authority. It creates a professional impression to the client also. Successful business owners and managers know the potential of an empowered team.
Once you learn the 5 P's of empowerment you will see a group of motivated people brought together with the same objectives, and with the authority to make things happen.
The 5 P's of empowerment are:
PERMISSION...to make decisions and to take risks.
Frederick Wilcox said, "Progress always involves risk; you can't steal second base with your foot on first!" To empower yourself, focus on what you can do. Determine what you need to do and get the information to make good decisions.
It's so important to concentrate on your strengths and give yourself permission to do what you love. For example, if a hair stylist loves to do hair coloring, encourage her/him to learn more, to experiment more, to do more.
Many business owners are indeed risk takers. Now they must help their staff see the necessity of trying new business ideas or products, to foster creativity.
People fear the unknown. You may hear your staff saying "I'm not ready yet", or "I might fail", or "I don't know enough". Encourage your staff to look within to see how they are setting up road blocks to their success. If I waited until I was ready to make that perfect keynote speech, I'd still be waiting and procrastinating!
People dread fear. Fear is really false evidence appearing real. We were born with two real fears, noise and falling. Every other fear we create ourselves.
Here are some motivational statements that you can share with your staff:
"Everyone fears new things when they are on unfamiliar territory."
"The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it."
"There are three kinds of people, those that make things happen, those that watch things happen, and those who wondered what happened!"
Make sure you create an environment that encourages calculated risks.
PROTECTION...even if they make a mistake.
Part of growth is learning from our mistakes. Henry Ford said, "Human failure is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently." Make sure the penalty for failure is not greater than the penalty for doing nothing.
People fear taking risks for many reasons. Some may have been embarrassed by managers when they tried new ideas that didn't work well. Some fear ridicule from their peers and refuse to try new techniques. They don't want change because they feel safe and secure with the status quo.
Managers must communicate to their staff that risk taking is a skill that must be used. Without it stagnation occurs. The American Bar Association did research on risk taking. More people get involved in accidents while mowing their lawn than while hang gliding! Remind your staff that life is a continuous risk. None of us will get out of this world alive! In order to stay in business, we must keep up with change.
If you really want to encourage your staff to change and to take risks you must make sure you stand by them, even if they fail. If they make a mistake, ask this very important question, "What did you learn, and how would you handle it differently if this situation came up again?" Another very successful technique to use, which is risky but powerful, is to share a mistake you made at your next staff meeting. Then ask who can beat yours with a better looper. This sharing can be frightening. But it can also be a technique which encourages your staff to talk about their mistakes while you stand by them!
PURPOSE: Know the company's goals, and answers to the typical conflicts that arise in your business.
One of the biggest mistakes managers make is to fail to share their mission with the entire staff. Sharing the vision, the company's direction, expectations, and customer philosophy, communicates the vision to all. "My interest is in the future because I'm going to spend the rest of my life there." - Charles Kettering.
Sharing your vision will encourage people to think about and take on new challenges. A technique that works well is to include your entire staff in creating your mission statement. Challenge them by asking why and why not.
This forces constant improvement. Focus on internal and external customer requirements. Recognize market changes. Make problem solving and brainstorming commonplace in your organization. Technology is expanding at an amazing rate, making some present techniques obsolete. Look at trends and then be ready!
PROFICIENCY: It's up to the managers to train the staff to know the difference between complacency and excellence!
Empowerment is not something that can be given, it must be taken. Those who have it, and want to share it, can provide the conditions and the language that make it possible to be taken by those who are in need of it. It's up to you to bring in the right team of experts. A complaint I often hear is: "My team isn't productive enough. I know they can do more. They don't sell their services or our product." Who is responsible for training your staff? You, the owner and/or manager are totally responsible.
Encourage your staff to think as the owners of their own careers. Help them learn features and benefits of every product and service in your company. Selling is hard because many people think of the old days when salespeople had the reputation of being pushy. Most people in sales need constant training and motivation.
Train your staff to educate the client and to listen to the client's needs. Role play with common objections, so your staff is prepared when they find themselves being rejected by a client. For added reinforcement bring in consultants, purchase or rent training tapes. These all work and your staff will appreciate your concern with "kaisen", the Japanese word for constant improvement!
PAY-OFF: Empowered teams know their work will be appreciated and recognized.
"How can I motivate my staff to create an exciting atmosphere?" The answer is so easy and so basic, yet most people are too stressed out to see the forest for the trees. Let your staff know how well they are doing daily, not just once a year! Show appreciation by giving small parties or gifts. All people have a basic need for appreciation. While people deserve to be treated with respect, they must earn recognition. Let them know the success of the business is partly due to their efforts and achievements.
When you use all the 5 P's of empowerment you will see an increase in morale, productivity, and success. It is not easy for some managers to give up power to others. If you really want to have a staff that feels passionate about their job, then you must set the tone.
These are my tried and true suggestions and methods. I challenge you to experiment with your own methods, then sit back and enjoy the fabulous results!!
Copyright © Joyce Weiss.
Joyce Weiss, P.O. Box 250163, West Bloomfield, MI 48325-0163 1-800-713-1926, http://www.joyceweiss.com, email@example.com