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Building an Empowering Culture

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ever notice how some workplaces are just...different?
Maybe you’ve worked at a company before where there’s a synergy in the atmosphere—people actually like their jobs—and go about their daily tasks with enthusiasm. Maybe that describes your workplace, or maybe not, but if you’ve experienced this, it’s hard to settle for anything less.

As leaders, we all want to know the secret. How do companies with good work culture do it? The secret is fairly simple. They provide ample opportunities for their employees to grow.

Every good leader wants to see their people succeeding, both inside and outside of the workplace. To do this, a leader should empower employees with tools for growth through learning and setting goals aligned with their passions and strengths.

Here’s a great quote from Warren Bennis sharing what the best leaders know is true:

“Too many companies believe people are interchangeable. Truly gifted people never are. They have unique talents. Such people cannot be forced into roles they are not suited for, nor should they be. Effective leaders allow great people to do the work they were born to do."

Invest in employee learning

The power of learning opens the mind up to creative possibilities and new ideas for your organization. The primary goal of every good company is to serve its people first. That sounds extreme, but if you run a company, you know that people are the most valuable assets in your care. Without good people, the ship goes under. A company that takes care of its people will in turn be taken care of. It’s really that simple!

Helping someone try out a new role or take an opportunity to improve their existing one is an important piece of the pie. Maybe an online course or conference is what an employee needs to learn a new skill that will greatly benefit your business. You just don’t know what’s possible unless you give people room to try. It’s never too late to turn your work culture around by opening the doors to innovative new ideas.

At Coachwell we have a software platform called CoachwellPro that helps organizations develop, educate and manage their people more effectively. Our platform and training builds empowered team members who function at their full potential. Contact us today to discover how CoachwellPro can advance your organization.

Don’t stifle new ideas.

Speaking of ideas, it’s important that employees have a safe space to suggest ways of doing things better. You may have the next Nobel Peace Prize Winner or the inventor of a multi-million-dollar product among you. You can’t take that chance of not helping someone reach their full potential. We are all connected and the ripple effect teaches us that something good for one is most likely going to be good for all. So why miss out on a new way of doing things?

Host ‘big idea’ days where employees are able to take a full day (or even a week!) to themselves to work on a project they are passionate about. Tie in a business reason for the project and see if anything interesting or useful comes of it! If not, consider it a creativity exercise and a break from the mundane. You really can’t lose with this one.

Give people more ownership.

The “do as I say” mandates passed down from the top brass isn’t the way management works anymore. Companies are now reaping the benefits of a workforce that takes more ownership in their work. We all can breathe a big sigh of relief to know that becoming a micromanager is never in the best interest of the employee, or the company, because ownership matters.

It’s the difference in the way a person treats a rental home and a house they just bought. They care for the house they purchased because it’s an investment. Their money is in that house. People rarely treat rentals with the same respect, because there’s no vested interest in that building.

The same goes for jobs. When we don’t give our employees opportunities to invest and make a career or project their own, the work they do will be sub-par. It’s just human nature to not invest in what feels temporary or rented. A long-term investment yields greater returns. While there is no reward for doing what you’re told, there’s a thousand rewards for innovating when you have the space and permission to do it.

Ask for honest feedback and mean it.

This is a hard exercise as a manager, particularly as we’ve gotten comfortable reviewing other people’s performances. It requires a certain level of humility to receive constructive criticism. However, seeking regular and honest feedback from employees is a nonnegotiable practice of all good companies. It ensures your employees concerns are being heard and honored. It helps management get on the same page with what’s happening on the front lines of their company. There’s nothing better for business than active listening, because it limits the amount of mistakes a leader will make in the future. Know your organization’s strengths and weaknesses.

Delight with the unexpected.

People love good surprises, and they don’t have to be over the top to be good! Announce a half-day off in the office and take your team go-cart racing, or to the movies. Spotlight a hardworking employee with a reward to recognize their work ethic. Smile more. Go on walks together and talk. Add a new benefit that people have been asking for. The name of the game here is: be generous. It’s a beautiful thing, and more often than not, people respond to generosity with loyalty—the gold standard for every company. A loyal person is worth their weight in gold. There are things we can be doing now as leaders to foster the potential of these ‘diamonds in the rough’ that exist in every organization.

Being intentional about how you lead, and filtering every decision with ‘Is this decision in the best interest of my employees?’ will help us stay grounded.

To your excellence in building an empowered culture,

Coach Greg

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