How to Empower Your Employees

Empowerment as a term is widely used and often misinterpreted; as a genuine action, it is difficult to put into practice. Empowerment is really about offering and receiving commitment so it is important to recognize that there are two kinds of commitment: external and internal.

External commitment

External commitment occurs when employees have little control over their destinies and are accustomed to working under the command-and-control model.

Examples of external commitment:

  • Tasks and the behavior to perform tasks are defined by others.
  • Performance goals are defined by management.
  • Goal importance is defined by others.
Internal commitment

Internal commitment occurs when employees are committed to a particular project, person, or program for their own reasons or motivations. Internal commitment is very closely allied with empowerment.

Examples of internal commitment:

  • Individuals define tasks and the behavior required to perform tasks.
  • Management and individuals jointly define challenging performance goals.
  • Individuals define the importance of the goal.

Consider ways that you can support your employees in developing an internal commitment to the work that you do. And, the ways you can also enhance your own commitment.

8 Characteristics of a Good Team Leader

Effective teamwork is a critical aspect in all types of organizations. Team members should be completely comfortable working with each other in order to give the best to whatever they do.

Generally, we would see a team to be comprised of team members and a team leader. The onus of success lies on the team, but there is an expectation the team leader carries responsibility for the success of the team..

Anyone on the team can be a leader. It doesn’t always fall to the person appointed to that role. However, being successful as a team lead requires the following characteristics.

  1. Supportive:
    • ready to go to bat for the team
    • presents team needs to organization and organizational needs to team
  2. Focused on Organizational Effectiveness:
    • balances people and work
    • keeps “productivity” and “quality” to the forefront
  3. Grooms “replacements”:
    • shares leadership role
    • creates leaders
  4. Good communicator
    • willing to listen
    • able to express
  5. Innovator
    • pursuer of progress
    • and developer of people
  6. Creates positive expectancy.
    • sets high expectation levels
    • sets and expects high standards
  7. Models expected behaviours:
    • consensus decision-making
    • risk-taking
    • empowering
  8. Able to deal with problem team members:
    • creative problem-solving
    • coaching
    • power to remove

How to Be a Leader

Do you get frustrated by things that don’t seem to happen the way they’re supposed to? People are milling about, but nothing gets accomplished. In the hustle, do you feel that your goals remain just that – goals?

Maybe its time for you to stand up and do something about it.

Most people are content to sit around waiting for orders. It’s not difficult adopt a follow-the-leader mentality. Maybe that doesn’t work for you. You have a desire to make things happen – to be the head, not the tail. Maybe leadership suits you.

Some people believe that great leaders are born, not made. While it may be true some people are born with natural ability, without practice, drive and experience, it’s difficult to develop leadership.Good leaders continually work and study to improve their skills.

What is a leader?

To be a leader, you must be able to influence others to accomplish a an objective. The leader contributes to the organization and cohesion of a group.

Contrary to what many believe, leadership is not about power. It is not about harassing or bullying people using fear. It is about encouraging others towards the goal. A leader brings unity of purpose, keeping everyone informed. You must be a leader not a boss.

How do you get people to follow?

People follow a clear sense of purpose. People will only follow you if they see you know where you are going. You know the bumper sticker, “Don’t follow me, I’m lost too.” The same holds for leadership. If you don’t know where you’re going, people will not want to follow you.

You have to have a clear vision of the “big picture”. Have a clear sense of hierarchy, know who’s who, understand the goals and objectives, and how the thing works. Then, others feel confident you know what you’re doing.

Leadership is not about what you make others do. It’s about who you are, what you know, and what you do. You are a reflection of what you want those following to be.

Another basis of good leadership is trust and confidence. If people trust you they will follow through difficulties to achieve the objectives.Trust and confidence is built on good relationships,transparency, and ethics.

The manner in which you deal with people and the relationships you build will lay a strong foundation for your group. The stronger your relationship, the stronger the trust and confidence in your capabilities.

Communication is third key to good leadership. Without this you can not be a good leader. There are 10 key communications principles every leader should know and use

  1. Everything communicates.
  2. The golden rule works.
  3. Stand for something.
  4. Everyone wants to be heard.
  5. One size does not fit all.
  6. They both end in “tion” but there’s a big difference between “information” and “communication.”
  7. Communicate courageously.
  8. Remember the competition.
  9. If it looks important, it must be important.
  10. Good communication is a good investment.

Leaders are not do-it-all heroes. You should not claim to know everything and should not rely upon your skills alone.

You should recognize and take advantage of the skills and talents of others. Only when you come to this realization will you be able to work as one cohesive unit.

Being a leader takes work and time. It is not learned overnight. It is not about just you. It is about you and the people around you.

Do you have the drive and desire to serve to be a leader? Do you have the desire to work cooperatively with other people? Start now. Take your stand and become a leader today.

Download a free ebook from Gaping Void

The team over at Gaping Void has put together an ebook, available for free download – Leadership In The Time Of Coronavirus Part 1 of 3

There are probably few people on the face of the earth today who are not aware of the crisis we are currently facing. Your social media feeds are likely full of responses, from silly memes, to cliched advice, to weird treatments that will eliminate infection.

One of the popular memes going around says something to the effect that, “when this is over, let us remember it wasn’t the CEOs and billionaires who saved us, it was the janitors, nurses, grocery workers, …” That’s not really true. There has been great leadership exhibited at all levels, from heads of state to retail staff.

Strong leadership is critical for an effective response to the crisis; from everybody.

Head over to Gapingvoid and download the ebook. It is 12 pages of great advice for being a leader in in this time of coronavirus.

Part 2 of 3 is now available for download – Love in The Time of Coronavirus.

How to Motivate and Inspire Others

The Green Bay Packers were a lacklustre team prior to the arrival of Vince Lombardi. The now legendary coach turned the Packers into the dominant NFL team of the 1960s. Why such a turnaround? Frank Gifford says it wasn’t Lombardi’s knowledge that made the difference, it was his ability to motivate the players. “He could get that extra ten percent out of an individual,” Gifford says. “Multiply ten percent times forty men on the team times fourteen games a season—and you’re going to win.”

We have all known those people who bring out the best in others—coaches, teachers, parents, bosses. They seem to possess a knack for inspiring people. How do they do it? How do they inspire and motivate people?

Here are four actions that will help motivate and inspire others:
  1. Identify with people. Don’t say, “Look at the challenge you face,” but rather, “look at the challenge we face.” If you want people to look at a problem from your point of view, don’t stand across from them and yell. Go to their side and identify with them and guide them to your side.
  2. Acknowledge the seriousness of the situation. Don’t hide things from those you’re working with or try to sugarcoat the problem. Face the facts.
  3. Have a call to action. Challenge others to specific action. You can think, discuss, investigate and plan all you want. Until you get people to take action things are not going to move forward.
  4. Assign tasks. Once you have a response to action, lay out the plan. An effective leader can cut the problem down to size. Assign each person a task that they can manage.

The people who make an impact on the world don’t have to be geniuses or the best looking or the most talented. They are those who can inspire others to action.

7 Ways to Develop Your Employees

One of the ongoing challenges of operating a business or running an organization is that of employee recruitment and retention.

One strategy that can improve recruitment and retention is training. Investing in staff training and development can alleviate skill shortages by improving your current staffs abilities to handle increased or new challenges.

Training may sound expensive, but the cost of turnover is even more expensive. Replacing and employee can cost between 50 and 100 percent of a positions’ annual salary! With this in mind, take a look at the following 7 ways to develop your employees.

  1. Training
    • A well-designed training program that maximizes learning before, during and after instruction translates into positive, lasting changes on the job.
    • Effective programs should include orientation, on-the-job training and classroom instruction.
    • Internet-based learning is an option that allows employees to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule.
  2. Self-directed learning
    • This approach puts individual employees in control of their own learning, allowing for personal differences in learning styles and encouraging ownership of the learning process.
    • When using this approach, many employers work with employees to develop a learning contract or personal development plan. The contract or plan, which is signed by both parties, outlines clear learning goals.
  3. Coaching and mentoring
    • Demonstrated benefits of these approaches include improved quality and quantity of work, transfer of learning and, for employees, improved communication and problem-solving skills.
    • Effective coaching and mentoring programs depend on the skills and personality of the mentor or coach, adequate time for coaching and mentoring sessions and established time-lines and goals.
  4. Job enrichment
    • Job enrichment increases the employee’s authority or responsibility within their current position. Examples include committee work, special assignments or serving on cross-functional teams.
    • This approach increases interest and motivation by allowing employees to try new skills, build new relationships and explore new areas of specialization.
  5. Job rotation and cross-training
    • Job rotation moves an employee through one or more different positions. The rotation can last several hours, several months or even a year or two. Cross-training is a specific type of job rotation where an employee learns the skills of a different position.
    • These approaches can effectively add diversity and interest, prepare individuals for promotion, rejuvenate work units and improve communication.
  6. Lateral moves
    • In a lateral move, an employee moves to a different position with similar status, pay and responsibility. A lateral move may offer new challenges or encourage the development of different skills for an employee who may not necessarily want increased responsibility.
    • This approach increases flexibility and communication among work units and, in small businesses with few opportunities for advancement, helps to retain valuable employees who might otherwise leave.
  7. Job aids
    • Job aids include checklists, tip sheets, wallet cards, posters, pictures, code lists, flow charts and diagrams—anything that offers on-the-spot practical help or reminders. Job aids can reduce the amount of information employees need to recall by providing easily accessible facts.
    • Well-designed job aids are concise, written in plain language and make good use of white space and graphics for easy interpretation.

Effective training and development better equips an organization to meet business challenges from filling staffing shortages to retaining current staff. Developing employee skills help generate the kind of performance that carries employers and employees forward.