Empowering Proactive Employees

Employees who simply perform to the letter of their job description or just do what they’re told and nothing more may maintain the status quo but they will not help you grow your business. You need to empower employees to push through performance goals and raise their own bars so they can learn leadership qualities.
Here are some tips on how to create an environment that encourages employees to be proactive at work and take the initiative to think creatively:
  • Explain empowerment benefits. Tell employees why you want them to take initiative and how it can provide benefits such as cost savings, more efficient problem solving, and out-of-the-box ideas that could stimulate growth.
  • Authorize decision-making. Give employees and teams the flexibility to make certain decisions without prior approval. If an employee has the authority to solve a customer problem on the spot, customer satisfaction goes up. Make that a normal part of how you do business and satisfaction will go through the roof.
  • Provide encouragement and recognition. Recognize calculated risk-taking efforts even if they don’t pan out. Make employees aware that it’s more about how they react to and learn from mistakes than the fact that a mistake was made.
  • Reward success. When creative thinking pays off, offer some perks and make sure everyone in the office sees that initiative has its rewards. It can be as simple as a company announcement, a celebratory lunch, extra vacation days, or a bonus.

Game Plan

Make a commitment to empower your employees. Start by giving your best and smartest workers more authority to make decisions and keep an eye on the results. You might be surprised at the improvements in productivity, not to mention office morale. As you get comfortable with not having to micromanage every aspect of your business, extend the empowerment to more employees. Consider allowing certain workers to set their own goals and also to build processes on how they will meet and exceed those goals.
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