I’ve found a lot of success in engaging my team by focusing on creating an environment that promotes ownership and innovation. Here are few things I do regularly to do this:
Everyone plays a part
- After announcing any sort of change or new objective, I bring the team together to talk about the change and ask for their advice about what we can do to succeed. I’ve seen better results from involving the full team in owning and influencing decisions and being a part of discussions and debate.
- We perform better when employees are inspired to contribute to the team’s success as much as their own. We encourage our teams to really own their work. We ask them to hold one another accountable, innovate, and always incrementally improve the operation, as a team. We’ve found this ownership mindset empowers employees to lead and as a result, they actively work together to solve challenges.
Building my leadership skills
- I enjoy reading business disruptor case studies to help me understand and articulate the ever-changing landscape. I’m a firm believer in using tangible examples or stories to help the team to think differently. I use LinkedIn and Twitter to subscribe to thought leaders and also look to sources outside of the business world, such as in the media, sports and academia focused on teamwork and culture.
- It takes time to build a mutual trust between a leader and his/her team. I need to truly understand what motivates and challenges them, while also proving to them that I’m here to share their success and empower them to do more. I try to give myself more time by blocking “free space” on my calendar for reflection, organization, and meeting with employees.
- However, I know finding “free space” is easier said than done. And that as leaders, we can sometimes feel like we have to be at meetings so we can offer our input. But, I’ve tried a different view – if I have to be at a meeting, I haven’t done a good job enabling my organization. One way I’ve been able to find more time is by regularly extending meeting invites to my team members and having them handle instead. This is a win-win because it empowers my team, giving them more exposure to the organization. They now have a deeper understanding and it gives me more time to observe, reflect and innovate.
My team often hears me say that my best day is when they leave me. I take pride in their success. I also enjoy seeing firsthand when teams become aware of how being a part of a high-functioning team is at least as (if not more) fulfilling than only being a high-performing individual. When this happens, a team starts to lead more than the managers.
This blog is part of the #HowILead series, which explores practices that leaders have found effective in engaging their employees. We encourage you to read and comment about your own experiences below or as a separate blog post. What has worked (or maybe didn’t work) for you may work for someone else! Share away!