In our webinar last week, we considered creating self-accountability that leads to ownership of responsibility by your team. Once a person becomes accountable to him or herself, you have to navigate the level of empowerment you have provided. This is different from navigating delegation as I discussed in a previous post.
Empowering a person or team does not imply that there is no ongoing need for leadership. Some leadership models suggest when a person is proficient in his or her role they need less leadership. That may be true in a world that moves at a slow pace with little change, but in a fast paced, high change environment it is risky.
If you are a leader attempting to clarify your team’s leadership needs once you have empowered them, here are three suggestions.
1. Scout the Future
Make sure you look ahead to you understand the emerging dynamics that will impact your team. This can include, but is not limited to, changes in your company, client expectations, technology, regulation, market competition, and resource availability.
Effective navigation requires interpretation of the many variables that directly and indirectly influence your team’s ability to maintain or adjust course.
2. Update Headings
Your team is empowered collectively and individually because you have oriented them and they are headed in the right direction. There are times that headings must be adjusted, or even completely changed. Empowerment results in the capacity to adapt without losing morale or momentum.
If you have scouted the future well, your team benefits from understanding heading adjustments as early as possible. Because of more time to adapt, minor changes in heading are less disruptive than major reversals,which can result in chaos and discontinuity.
3. Invest in the Team and Individuals
One definite benefit of empowerment develops from the knowledge a leader has of his or her team. This develops from understanding each team member. The leader clarifies individual capabilities and observes of how that translates into team performance. At that point, the leader can make investments in individuals and the group that will improve performance, raise productivity, and prepare the team for future skill requirements.
Many managers long for the opportunity to think about the future, become proactive in change, and elevate the performance of the team. Most don’t see any way to get there.
The path is an empowered team. If you navigate the team to empowerment, you will then navigate an empowered team.