The most proactive and productive teams are usually the ones that have the most freedom. If you want to push your team to the next level, you must look for ways to empower them. There should be less hand-holding, micromanaging, and more empowerment as a tech manager.
The Benefits of Employee Empowerment
Nothing makes an employee feel overwhelmed, like being asked to do something but not having the authority, resources, or freedom to make it happen. Unfortunately, many of your team members are probably operating in this state. That’s because most tech managers and employers do a poor job of empowering employees.
A research study on over 7,000 employees in different industries found that those who felt disempowered ranked in the 24th percentile of engagement. In contrast, those with high levels of empowerment ranked in the 79th percentile. In other words, empowering your employees is one of the most important things you can do if you want to get maximum value out of your team.
As employee engagement expert Kellie Wong writes, “Employee empowerment can instill greater trust in leadership, encourage employee motivation, lead to greater creativity, and improve employee retention ー all of which ultimately results in a better bottom line.”
Empowering employees ultimately comes down to your priorities as a tech manager. Are you willing to relinquish some control to make your team more productive and engaged? Hopefully, the answer is a clear yes.
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4 Specific Ways to Empower Your Team
Not sure where to begin? Here are several ways you can empower your team to be even more successful:
1. Gather Feedback (And Act On It)
Most companies send out an annual employee engagement survey to see how their staff is doing and get a general pulse on how people are feeling. But here’s the thing: Most tech managers spend very little time actually studying the results. In fact, most send out these surveys because it’s what they’ve always done. If you want to empower your team, you need to take feedback more seriously.
Good feedback is the basis for positive growth and empowerment. Make sure you’re asking specific questions and thinking critically about the results. More specifically, act on the feedback you receive. Not only will this improve your processes and management style, but it’ll show employees that you care about them.
2. Recognize and Reward Your Employees
We often think employees are only motivated by money. However, research shows that most people are more likely to feel empowered when they feel recognized and valued within the organization.
“Knowing our work is valued and appreciated by others naturally makes us want to contribute more,” researcher Lynette P. Silva explains. “79% of employees say recognition makes them work harder, and 78% say recognition makes them more productive. Interestingly, recognition also helps employees feel better equipped to handle the constant change common in today’s workplaces, which is often detrimental to productivity.”
Showing appreciation could be as simple as popping your head into someone’s office and giving some words of affirmation. Or it could look like publicly recognizing employees for different accomplishments within the organization. There are endless options – make sure you are doing your part and not turning a blind eye to the need for appreciation and recognition.
3. Supply the Right Technology and Systems
Your team needs to feel like they can handle internal issues independently without having to climb up a rigid chain of command constantly. This comes down to supplying your team with the right technology and systems in many cases.
For example, having your own internal IT help desk allows employees to address problems quickly and efficiently, which gives them the power to execute and experience fewer delays. As a tech manager, be meticulous in your due diligence when selecting IT help desk software. This can really make or break your team’s internal efficiency.
4. Eliminate Underbrush
Eliminate all of that organizational “underbrush” that complicates processes and unnecessarily holds employees back. Every part of your business has certain problem areas.
For example, your customer service department may be held back by very stringent approval processes. If your customer service reps have to put a customer on hold and get approval from a manager every single time an order needs to be returned, exchanged, or modified, this makes employees feel like they aren’t trusted.
Eliminating underbrush would mean giving fully-trained customer service reps the ability to self-approve any return under $100 (or whatever limit you decide on).
Set Your Team Up for Success
Today’s most productive and efficient teams are the ones that are empowered by their tech managers and other members of the leadership team. You don’t have to be hands-off, but you do need to relinquish a bit of control and give your team the ability to take ownership of their responsibilities, duties, and projects.