How to Empower Teams In 2021 And Beyond

2021 has arrived.  We’ve made it through one of the worst years on record and, with any luck, things should be looking up in 2021.

The problems facing the world aren’t likely to go away overnight, but as more and more companies are having to find new ways of working and new ways of communicating, it’s more important than ever that you get your teams sorted, and by sorted that means empowering them to be the best that they can be.

What Is Team Empowerment?

Empowering a team is different from motivating a team. As the famous idiom states: “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”. That means you can put everything in place to ensure your teams can succeed, but success is up to them, and that’s where empowerment comes in.

With motivation, teams want to do a good job, with empowerment, teams CAN do a good job. Through essential experience, leadership skills, the right equipment, and excellent communication, teams with the tools and motivation to succeed are empowered to do so, and the bonus is that it will make a difference to your bottom line.

Empowerment breeds motivation, and motivation breeds empowerment.

Why Is It Important to Empower Teams?

Throughout the last twelve months, we’ve seen a huge shift in the way we work and how the world has to act. All of this “new normal” isn’t easy to cope with. Companies that have done well during the pandemic are the companies that have pulled together and worked together to do the best work that they can do under the circumstances.

A team that is empowered to succeed is a team that isn’t afraid to push the boundaries, and that’s a virtue that has been incredibly important in the last few months, as flexibility and adaptation have been vital for team success and business success too.

Here are seven ways you can empower your team for success, build their skills and confidence in the workplace, and improve their personal life with soft skills and life skills that will help to see them through the tough times ahead.

Get Your Communication Sorted

Are you working remotely now? Was this a bit of a shock to the system? Many teams went from working together day in day out to suddenly not see each other in person for weeks on end, maybe even months.

This has been hard to deal with, and we must recognize that and our communication processes to make life easier. Endless emails and instant messenger notifications will breed annoyance and maybe even resentment, especially if you’re now all keeping odd hours too. You can keep things together to start proofing assets by creating a central place for feedback; this will allow all comments to be together and improve communication more naturally.

Invest in Team Coaching

Have you ever had team coaching? Individual and leadership coaching has been around for a while but now more than ever, and team coaching is one thing you can do to ensure that your team is working together to the best of its ability.

Companies like the Association for Coaching run team coaching seminars and can put you in touch with experienced coaches that will help to build your team to be successful and motivated in this strange new world we inhabit.

Develop a Culture of Trust

Trust is vital, and with more and more people working from home, trust has become a major issue for both employers and employees.

Put simply: Employers who don’t trust their employees will give their employees reason not to trust their employers, so the circle continues.

Building trust isn’t easy, and it will rely on your employees showing up both physically and in the work that they do, but in this case, it is better to let the reins out a little and give them the freedom to be great.

Be Realistic About Personal Strengths and Weaknesses

Personal strengths and weaknesses are a big part of teamwork. There are many quizzes and tests you can take online, such as the 16 Personalities quiz as well as more professional peer-reviewed personality tests that can tell you a lot about yourself and your employees.

With this in mind, it’s time to be realistic about what people are good at, what they are not good at and work to their strengths without exploiting their weaknesses.

Do you have a creative in your marketing department that comes up with amazing ideas and fantastic campaigns but can’t remember what day it is? Buddy them up with someone great at organizing people and time.

Maybe you have someone who is good at making sure everyone, and everything is in the right place at the right time, but they can come across as quite blunt? They need to work with someone who is good at communication (and who has a thick skin!).

Working to people’s strengths empowers them to do better, without making them feel bad about their weaknesses that they are more than likely all too aware of.

Be Flexible with Expectations

Do you expect your employees to be at their desk (at home or in the office) 9-5 and only concentrate on their work during that time? It seems like a reasonable expectation, but with more people working from home, and more schools closed, that might not be practical.

Instead of reprimanding your employees for having a child on their lap during a Zoom call or complaining about their dog barking because the mail has just turned up, you’re going to need to be flexible and realistic.

Yes, you expect a certain level of commitment and professionalism from your employees, even when they’re working from home, but you can’t expect that employees will be working with their full attention with everything that’s going on in the world, that’s just fact.

Set some expectations, be compassionate, and have adult conversations. Also, realize that life happens, and your employee is probably just as frustrated as you are with things right now.