People Matter: Part 3 – Enable and Empower

In our last leadership blog we mentioned enable and empower as one of things leaders need to do, but we didn’t open up that idea. Today we need to unpack the responsibilities of the leader in this area.

Really it begins with enabling, and that can be as simple as making sure your team has a decent computer to work with.  This is called allocating resources which is often seen as budgetary responsibilities but is really not – budget will come later for the leader!  This is all about ensuring that every person on your team has everything they need to do their job effectively. It requires connections to other areas of the organization that will support their work. It needs time to build those relationships so that they are effective connections. Yes it is your responsibility to ensure that your team has ALL the resources needed to do their jobs.

Coaching and training.  If you aren’t actively looking for coachable moments and creating regular, scheduled, time to review those moments then you should probably close the book on being a leader.  Remember coaching is not all about correction.

  • Coaching in your role as team leader is to throw the magnifying glass on the behaviors that you know will lead to success in your colleague’s role.  To encourage more of those behaviors and to be intensely interested in their career path as much as you are interested in your own.
  • Training is your way to prove that commitment.  Often leaders sit back and expect those team members to identify their own training opportunities.  Yes there is scope for a person to be active and if this blog was aimed at the team member then this statement would read ‘take control of your development’ but we are talking to you leader.  By being interested in someone’s career path and having an in-depth knowledge of the organization, you are uniquely positioned to find the best training opportunities to enable and empower your team.  Don’t shirk this responsibility.

Finally, remove obstacles.  This begins with a great job design, which goes way beyond the job description and includes understanding the day to day work and asking the question.

If you aren’t regularly asking the question “what do I need to _________?” then you are not removing obstacles.  Of course your job isn’t to do your team’s job but it is to ensure there are no barriers to success. These barriers range from misunderstanding, lack of buy-in from others, lack of appropriate resources and not enough time. You have the ability to even remove time as a barrier by reordering priorities . . . but that is topic for another blog!

Remember though, that enabling and empowering from your perspective is about creating a high performance team, one that works together so well that all of this does not rely solely on you.

High performance teams move organically together and care about each other’s work – which is intertwined as to create shared purpose and achieve higher goals than a group simply working together.

A great place to start your research into this is The Wisdom of Teams


If you are looking for training opportunities for you and your team then be sure to check out our workshops.  If you want someone to help you chart out a course to developing your team to create empowerment then be sure to drop Jeff D’Silva – Manager, Consulting – a line @ 403-231-1431 or email jdsilva@propellus.org.

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