I am in the process of designing a course for managers centered around employee empowerment and have found there are some conflicting definitions. For some it comes under the umbrella of delegation and deals with the level of authority given to employees. This connects more with a command / control style of leadership. For others, employee empowerment is more holistic and refers to an internal acknowledgement of confidence and accountability. I tend to connect more with the second viewpoint. Similar to employee engagement, empowerment is an internal belief and managers need to work to create an environment that allows their employees to flourish and feel empowered.
During my research, I found several ways for managers to set the stage for empowerment, below are my top 5 (in no particular order):
• “I trust you” (this one is my personal favorite because trust is crucial in the workplace)
• “Go for it!”
• “You’ve got this!”
• “You own it!”
• “What do you think?”
• “What would you like to work on?”
• “What do you need from me?”
• “We couldn’t have done it without you!” (empowerment comes in recognition too!)
Empowerment is a gift and a positive developmental approach to leadership. How do you empower your employees?
For future insights and articles, connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter @SM_susan, or email me, email@example.com or schedule time with me to discuss your employee development needs, www.calendly.com/susan-38
I received an email recently from a gentleman who attended one of my classes some time ago. The class was centered around creating your own career path (click here if this topic interests you). He indicated that after attending my class he was inspired to seek a different path and was working towards his goal. These type of emails truly validate my personal mission and make me smile!
I began to reflect on how I created my personal mission. I was in a meeting a few years ago, during the introduction I was asked what I do and I simply replied “I change lives”. A person in the meeting snickered because he either thought I was joking or I wasn’t capable of such a thing. I said to him “I am not trying to being facetious or egotistical, I truly believe this is my purpose”; he quickly backed down.
This was the first time I proclaimed to others my true purpose. It felt great to openly and honestly share my mission. I then decided to take some time and allow it to develop further. I started simple, “I love to help others”. This is the sole driving force behind me wanting to start my own business. I want to reach a larger audience and change more lives. I have refined my mission to “My personal mission is guiding and inspiring others to become the best version of themselves and that in turn has a positive impact on business results; I want everyone to love the path they are on and to help managers create engaged teams”. I had to make it more specific and clearer in terms of how I will help my clients and what value I will bring. I also wanted to stay true to my mission in its purest form, helping others.
What is your personal mission? If you don’t have one, perhaps you should schedule a meeting with yourself and map this out. Ask yourself these questions:
1. What are your top three goals (your big rocks)?
2. What value do you bring?
3. What energizes and excites you (a 5 Why analysis will help you get to the core)?
4. What are your strengths? (Not sure? Find out using StrengthsFinder)
5. How do you want to be remembered?
Once you develop your mission, write it down, revisit and review it often. It should be a constant reminder of your true purpose.
I turned 40 this year and my mission has never been more clear. It is the thing I cling to each day that allows me to maintain a continuous focus towards a bright future. I encourage you to make time and focus on your mission. What will be your legacy?
About the Author:
Susan Maggetti has provided human resources and professional development expertise to organizations and teams for over 15 years in industries such as E-Commerce, Engineering, Finance, Healthcare, Retail and Technology. Her areas of expertise are leadership development, strengths based professional development, employee engagement, emotional Intelligence and coaching.
For future insights and articles, connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter @SM_susan, email me, firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule time with me to discuss your developmental needs at www.calendly.com/susan-38
Employee engagement starts with developing your managers. According to Gallup, employees need to know they have been encouraged to learn something new in the last year (Q12) and they should feel that someone at work encourages their development (Q6). This focus on development needs to begin at the top, with your managers. They need to be given the tools and resources necessary to know how to develop, support and lead their team.
What are we communicating to our managers when we develop them?
When companies invest in developing their managers they are saying “we value and support you”. It creates a long-term focus for the employee and they are more likely to perform at higher levels and stick around. Also, there is a fantastic side effect within organizations that have leadership development plans in place for their management team. The Managers will support the development of their own employees and this creates a learning culture.
What are some leadership development best practices?
I am a facilitator of both classroom and virtual training so I may have a tendency to be biased here. Not all training is created equal and everyone will have a different learning preference. It is best to have a blended approach. Classroom training sets the stage to open a manager up to other ideas and concepts and gives them a safe environment to practice. However, the real behavioral change comes when the training is put into practice in real life scenarios. Training is more than a one time event. Senior management must be bought in and supportive. They should be prepared to follow up and be open to allowing the trained managers to put new ideas into practice. In my experience, this is best done by having a development plan which is a combination of ongoing training, follow up, practice and accountability that last throughout the year. Most of my clients take a quarterly approach for each course which allows plenty of time for practice.
What do they need to know?
This is best answered with a formal needs analysis. However, if you, like most companies have an influx of millennial managers you may want to start with what I call the “core four”. These are the four topics all new managers need to learn (stay tuned for more detail on these in my upcoming article). Managers must know how to develop and maintain an engaged team. They also need to know how to have frequent constructive conversations and how to coach for high performance. When managers master the art of delegation they can begin to focus on higher level projects to move the business forward. Finally, all managers need to be exposed to the legal side of management; the "do's and don’ts" and how to protect the company from potential litigation.
What about our remote managers?
In a growing global economy with telecommuting on the rise, we must remember all of the managers; including those that are remote. The positive message you send by investing in them will increase if you bring them in closer when it comes time to develop them. Invite them to headquarters or the training off-site when possible. The classroom is a great place to plant seeds, build and strengthen relationships. If logistics / budgets won’t allow for travel, make sure they are virtually connected with video so they feel part of the group. The facilitator also needs to ensure the remote managers are included in activities and given time to practice.
Developing your managers contributes to employee engagement which we know contributes to company success and client satisfaction. What are your plans to support the development needs of your managers in 2017? I would love to help.
For me it seems obvious, there is a direct connection between leaders who care and employee engagement. Then, why is it hard for managers and leaders to remember to care in their day to day dealings with their employees? This is a question I have been pondering for some time now. Let me first explain what I mean by caring.
Caring is showing a vested interested in the whole person and not just seeing your employee has a headcount or a "butt in seat". When managers care they provide regular feedback and coaching for the purpose of genuinely helping their employees get better. They reward and recognize great performance in a timely manner. Managers who care have open conversations with their employees about their future career wants and developmental needs and they don't feel the need to hoard great talent for a self-serving purpose.
Back to my original question, why is it so hard? Managers have competing demands coming from the top and their clients and sometimes become short sighted. How may have pushed off that one-on-one meeting because of a "fire" that needed immediate attention? In the day-to-day it is easy to forget that seeds planted can grow, but only if they are watered and nurtured often. Most managers will get rewarded for making great client saves or winning new business. Maybe they should be rewarded equally for creating an engaged team? Of course, as Gallup shows us, only engaged teams can really be productive over time...
Want to retain your best talent? Want to have productive and engaged teams? Then managers need to remember that employees are important assets and you have to pay attention to them, develop them and care for them every day (even on the busiest days).
Looking to develop current or future leaders that care about employee engagement? I can help! (email@example.com).
I have been studying and advocating for employee engagement since 2008 and consider myself an expert on the topic (especially after becoming certified by Gallup). However, I never really understood what it felt like to be disengaged. I was always hard working, dedicated and positive. My top 5 strengths are Achiever, Relator, WOO, Responsibility and Positivity, therefore I always thought I was hardwired to be engaged. (Curious what yours are? Contact me).
Now for my story. I once had the unfortunate experience of working for a toxic boss. I became fearful in the workplace and was not able to contribute as I always have. Once my boss left, I thought for sure that I could bounce back. I was wrong, something happened during the several months of being exposed to a negative work environment. I became a disengaged employee. I was no longer excited to get up and go to work, in fact, I began to dread Monday starting on Saturday! How did I feel? I felt numb, not empowered, unsure, directionless, and sad.
The hard part - I couldn't turn myself around. As Gallup tells us, engaged employees need 12 key elements (the Q12). For me, I did not know what was expected of me (once my boss left, I had no manager or direction) (Q1). While I still had the materials I needed (Q2), I was not able to do what I do best (Q3), I was not connected in and was unsure if I was still in alignment with the company's future plans (Q8). I did not receive any recognition in over six months (Q4). There wasn't anyone to oversee my development or care about me (Q5 & 6). I was in neutral for six months and no one asked me about my progress (Q11). My opinions were no longer being listened to (Q7), so I stopped talking. Now it wasn’t all bad, I had great co-workers who were committed to doing quality work (Q9) and one of them was my best friend at work (Q10). Prior to the downward spiral, I did have opportunities to learn and grow (Q12). However, there were more misses than hits when it came to satisfying those key 12 elements of engagement for me.
I once believed if a person was innately programmed to be engaged, they could not succumb to disengagement. I now think differently. However, I will say this, we are a product of our environment, but we are also in control of our own destiny. I can tell you now that I have moved away from the environment that caused me to be disengaged and I am fully focused on helping other individuals, teams, and organizations ensure that no one has to experience what I did.
The truth - what I experienced hurt, however, it has given me a first person view of what disengagement feels like and I can now use this to empathize with and help others.
Want to learn how to keep your employees engaged? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 610-858-4143.