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Empowering Employees to Give Their Best Efforts

Empowering Employees to Give Their Best Efforts

Some leaders don’t push. In fact they allow others to push them around – this might be their bosses, their peers and even their colleagues. They may also be pushed around by the organization as a whole, suggesting that their actions are always constrained by a particular way that things must be done or the “culture around here.”

An effective leader doesn’t sit back and wait to be pushed or just encourage team members to do things merely in the right way or just according to the “rules.” They are ‘out there’ in front pushing for excellence, for higher standards for performance, for an even bigger contribution by his or her team, by doing the right things. In other words, they encourage and empower other people to make sure that they are working on the right task and processes in the first place, and inspire others to achieve at a higher level.

People who focus everyone’s attention on making sure that they do the right things are able to push hard because they are very clear about what they have to achieve and are very confident about the capabilities of their fellow team mates. They push them for additional output, for excellent customer service, for excellent quality, etc. They also push them for excellent employee relations, accepting only a positive cohesive and co-operative style of teamwork. Of course, it is also important to recognize and reward people with praise, and give constructive feedback to those who are not quite there yet.

There are many individual actions that a leader can take to empower the people in a team but here are a few ideas to improve your overall effectiveness in this area:

  1. Pay attention to what is actually going on in the team. Track efforts, and track outcomes back to their source. When efforts of individuals are blended in with teams’ efforts, seek to work out just who was responsible for what. Don’t ignore people’s efforts, and don’t wrongly attribute someone’s effort to someone else (don’t steal his or her thunder and limelight and give them to someone else). Misattribution can make the deserving person angry and resentful, and the undeserving person smug and slack.
  2. Utilize every method that you can think of to inspire and enthuse individuals to achieve at a higher level. Consider sending the person inspirational quotes, pat people on the back, offer small rewards at milestones, celebrate minor successes, etc.
  3. Be generous and unstinting in giving praise. Generally speaking, the more skilled and accomplished a person is, the more likely it is that the person will be motivated to give praise to others. This is unsurprising: they can afford to, as they don’t feel threatened by other’s excellence, and don’t feel so inferior that the only way they can score points with others is by flattery and barely disguised envy. Praise tends to beget praise with this type of role modeling going on.
  4. When praising and/or rewarding, timing is essential. If a person has achieved much, don’t wait until the goal is completed before making a song and dance about his or her efforts. Give recognition sooner, rather than later. Give it here and now, not there and then. The longer you delay, the greater the potential for his or her efforts to be lost in the shuffle, and the more this happens, the more the person will be demotivated.
  5. Think about what you can delegate to particular individuals to help empower them or assist them to learn and grow. Make sure that it is a relatively interesting task or project and that you do not micro-manage the person once the task has been delegated – your job is to steer.
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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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