The following is a guest piece by Megan Totka.
When we talk about empowerment, we typically do so in a positive tone, as in giving someone the power to do something for themselves or to change themselves or something they are involved with for the better. Empowering others can be a great feeling when it comes to both your personal life and your business dealings. The ability to empower others can be a great leadership quality.
So is it possible to empower the others around us without losing a sense of power within ourselves? The good news is, these two things are not mutually exclusive. Empowering the people around you can in turn make you more successful. The more you surround yourself with positivity and people who feel confident in themselves and their decisions, the more successful everyone will be.
Here are some ways to encourage empowerment in both your personal life and your business:
1. Keep people in the loop
Particularly in a business setting, it’s important to let others around you know what is going on. In your personal life, if you don’t share the goings-on in your life, it’s hard to get support from others. This goes the same in business. Letting your employees know what’s really happening with your business will help them to feel like they are an important part of the company
2. Set up goals
In a business setting, coming up with realistic (or far-reaching) goals is an important part of the process. Giving people something to strive for will absolutely give them a sense of empowerment. Think about how difficult it is to keep trudging along with no end in sight. When goals are set, everyone feels like they are working together for the common good, and everyone can be glad when the goal is achieved.
3. Encourage risk-taking
What is life without taking a few risks along the way? I think that encouraging people to take risks can be applied to both personal and professional endeavours. Risk-taking is what makes our lives well, more lively! If you run a business, encourage your employees to go out on a limb occasionally. While sometimes risk-taking doesn’t pay off, it often does result in new ideas at the very least!
4. Keep your cool
There’s no doubt that mistakes happen. I make mistakes every single day. This is no different in a business atmosphere. While I don’t suggest that it’s a good idea to encourage people to make big mistakes, it is important to let your colleagues know that if they do make a mistake, you’ll forgive and forget.
Tearing people down for making honest mistakes doesn’t get anyone anywhere. Should you put forth consequences if big, preventable mistakes are made? Yes. But for small things, work on figuring out a solution rather than being angry.
5. Encourage teamwork
Working together in teams can help you, your employees, and your friends and family to feel more empowered about nearly anything. Think about the last time that you made a major life decision. Did you consult someone for another opinion? I’m willing to bet that you did. Offering people the ability to brainstorm with others and come up with solutions to problems as a team can be highly beneficial.
6. Support ongoing education
Encouraging people to go out and learn on their own or sponsoring learning opportunities is helpful to everyone. As a businessperson, having employees or co-workers who are hungry for knowledge and want to learn more and more is a great thing.
There are many different ways to offer learning opportunities. While small businesses may not have the budget for tuition reimbursement, it’s certainly possible to offer short classes at the office or encourage employees to look into free classes as well.
Empowering others in the workplace and in your personal life can be a great thing for you and your business because it improves employee engagement levels. Businesses that empower their employees to make decisions and to feel like they have a say in the workings of the company tend to have higher sales numbers and better employee retention.
It’s also good for management because people who feel as though they are empowered are often more productive. If you are a business owner, manager, employee, or just want to be more successful in your personal endeavours, consider incorporating ways to empower those around you into your everyday routines. I think you’ll be happy with the results.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.