Every organization wants to do everything it can to improve employee productivity. This single factor plays a significant role in a business’s success, and achieving it is a core objective for management. Research shows that employee empowerment has been successful in helping team managers and leaders to boost motivation. Hence, I want to share a few tips for empowering your direct reports.
The key phrase in the above sentence is ‘direct reports.’ Although targeting the organization as a whole is beneficial, your solutions will only work through micro and macro policies. This blog will provide some context and empowerment tips to boost your success.
Who Are Direct Reports?
Firstly, let’s understand what we mean by direct reports. Direct reports are the subordinates on your core operations team. You are likely to have direct reports under you if you are a supervisor or a team manager.
This blog will address empowerment strategies that are effective for such team members.
Impact of Empowerment on Employee Performance
Multiple research papers have explored these elements and concluded that increasing empowerment boosts performance.
Three critical changes happen when you empower your direct reports.
1. Improved Satisfaction
To start, empowering leads to `employee satisfaction. Most people, especially the younger generations, join organizations with the drive to achieve professional growth.
Therefore, allowing your subordinates to take more ownership of their work helps them encounter challenges better. Managers encouraging associates to take on such challenges also improve their professional and personal growth.
2. Better Professional Grooming
Empowerment helps people become more responsible, allowing them to show their talents and professionalism. Hence, the decision can help ambitious employees take the initiative and grasp incredible opportunities for career growth.
3. Encourages Creativity and Innovation
Empowering employees is one of the best ways to boost creativity and innovation. Taking more ownership of projects will push your direct reports to add novelty to their work in hopes of making their mark.
This factor is essential because several teams becoming more creative due to empowerment can set new performance benchmarks. Such achievements will push everyone towards excellence.
Tips for Empowering Your Direct Reports
There is no doubt that delegating more responsibility is beneficial, but how will you empower your team? Following are some of the best tips for empowering your direct reports to increase team productivity:
1. Build Closer Team Relationships
Getting to know your team and becoming more comfortable with them is good for team spirit. Building better team relationships will improve internal communication and increase trust between you and your team members.
Creating such a dynamic encourages people to explore their potential and increases the likelihood of taking on more responsibility. Therefore, the better your team bonding, the more empowered your subordinates will be.
2. Delegate Work and Responsibility
Delegating work is the first step to empowering your employees. Split projects into tasks and delegate them to your team members based on their proficiency and expertise. Assure them, let them take responsibility for their assigned task, and encourage them to do their best.
Work delegation is the primary responsibility of a manager, and your job is to assess how each person approaches their end of the task. Repeating this process and increasing task complexity will help your team ease into the responsibility and take on more challenges.
3. Do Not Micromanage
Micromanagement is one of the worst behavior a manager can exhibit and causes their direct reports to become frustrated. Getting elevated to a managerial role requires relinquishing control over individual tasks and shifting to the executive end.
Hence, you need to trust your direct reports to perform their relevant tasks independently without constant interference. Your role is to work with your team, understand their capabilities, and assign work accordingly.
The more you get involved in the minor details, the less opportunity they will have for growth. Such incidents eventually cause disgruntlement, and your team members’ motivation will drop.
4. Encourage Engagement
Employee engagement is one of the first signs that indicate that people are likely to appreciate empowerment. Hence, create opportunities for engagement by organizing brainstorming sessions, feedback sessions, etc.
Maintain an open-door policy for communication to help your direct reports know they are welcome to discuss their concerns. The more actively your team members engage in such activities, the greater the likelihood of better empowerment.
5. Give Constructive Feedback
Several team leads make the mistake of barely providing their direct reports any performance feedback. Not sharing performance feedback prevents your team members from knowing their strengths and weaknesses.
It will be challenging to know which aspects they need to focus on to achieve career development without such knowledge. Hence, schedule appraisals and feedback sessions to keep your subordinates in the loop about their performance.
6. Appreciate Growth and Improvement
There is a strong connection between rewards and motivation, and rewards don’t always need to be monetary. Recognizing your team members’ efforts in public will increase their motivation and push them to work harder and take on more responsibility.
It also motivates the remaining members to improve their performance to get recognized and rewarded similarly.
You are in a leadership role, which puts you in the best position to empower your direct reports. Take some time out to mentor them and help them become more confident about taking on more responsibility. They need assurance that they have what it takes to manage tasks independently, and your opinion as a supervisor matters a lot.
Mentorship will also help you understand them better and help you plan training to polish their capabilities.
Our Final Thoughts
We hope our tips for empowering your direct reports are helpful and enable you to achieve your goals and targets. Implementing relevant changes will take some time, but the effort and investment will be worth it.
Please also read our other blogs for more information and tips on the topic.