Empowering your team will push your business further
On average, we spend approximately 11 years of our lives working. In recent years the attitude to legacy HR policies has changed, influenced by innovative company’s stateside such as Google who are notorious for empowering their team with direct access to company leaders, company massages and giving new parents 6 weeks paid time off with a bonus called ‘baby bonding bucks’ and free on-site childcare when they return. What does this result in? Happy, contented staff that have helped drive Google to its position today as one of the world’s most successful companies. Developing and empowering your team doesn’t mean you need to spend all day in the board room training, you need to re-evaluate company culture.
While many companies in the UK haven’t yet been able to reach the heights of employee perks that Google has, there are ways of working that can cultivate a much more modern and supportive culture that will develop and empower your team to reach new heights and push your business further than it has gone before.
The first thing that will empower your team is to break free of the leader/follower mindset. Handing control back to your staff will allow them to be creative, confident and decisive in their duties and the level of productivity will soar. It is possible to lead your team in a way that supports and assists them, rather than adopting a ‘big brother’ approach, which often leads to a stressed and uncomfortable atmosphere with a team that feel unable to make decisions and will come to you for consent for the smallest task – increasing your workload.
Showing genuine concern for your team and being attentive to their feelings, worries and workload will be perceived in a much more positive way than demanding daily reports on what has been achieved.
It may be worth assessing if the office environment is right for your team, or if you are comfortable with it if the working hours are suitable. It may be that some members of the team are night owls and would be more productive working late into the night, or maybe others have a young family and would like the opportunity to explore a better work/life balance and would work better from home. Keep an open mind about new ways of working, it would be great start by asking your team for their views on the current state of play.
It is a very British way of thinking to ignore office tensions and hope that they will go away, but the reality is that it will simmer away under the surface and result in an environment that is less than ideal. By encouraging an open and honest atmosphere that thrives on positivity, any concerns and issues can be discussed and resolved quickly and painlessly. If this is something that you believe could be implemented in your business, rule number one is don’t exclude yourself – If people take issue with your work or behaviour than embrace instant feedback and encourage your senior members of staff to do the same.
This isn’t about creating chaos, boundaries should be set and all comments should be of a constructive nature and will push staff to think about the way that they communicate their comments to others, also working to improve communication skills.
On the topic of ‘communication’ – How well do you communicate with your team? Not your management team, your entire team of employees. Have you ever asked your team what they want from you or the company policies? We are not suggesting re-writing the policies to suit every individual in the business, but what we are suggesting is investigating what motivates your team to come and work for you each day and if there is anything you can do to tailor incentives to support this. Does your company enforce an achievable bonus structure (and stick to it)? Sometimes simple things such as a company phones, finishing an hour early on a Friday or recognition can go a long way to making your staff feel valued and appreciated, and in all honesty, why wouldn’t you want to keep your team happy?
Perhaps this final point is the most important; have you ever considered the way that you portray yourself to your team? It is an outdated view to believe that because you are in a managerial or executive position that you are due respect, this outlook has no place in the modern office – its 2015 and to gain respect you must inspire, so get to know your staff and give them your time, you will be amazed by the results.