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5 Ways to Empower Employees with Greater Autonomy

One of the greatest things I ever did in my business, was hand it over to my employees. I knew, early on, to achieve the lifestyle I wanted, I had to stop working in my business.

What do I mean by that? I mean handing over the reigns to my team, when it came to:

  • Day-to-day operations.
  • Client interactions.
  • Even important decision-making responsibilities.

It’s one thing to transition your clients over to your employees, but it’s an entirely different endeavor to prepare your team to be capable of such a switch.

Not only is it important for leaders to demonstrate their utmost trust in their team, but also for employees to feel capable and competent in their newfound autonomy.

Many people have an ill-conceived notion of what autonomy is; it is not:

  • Doing whatever you want, whenever you want.
  • Working alone, in isolation.
  • Operating without a safety net or support of others.

Autonomy is more concerned with the final outcome, as opposed to the means of getting there.

The outcome of a successfully autonomous team, is employees feeling more satisfied, empowered and confident in their roles, thus producing better outcomes.

If you want to stop working in your business and empower your employees with greater autonomy, keep reading.

1. Hire Smart

It starts from square one when you’re building your team. Hire people who are naturally autonomous, have demonstrated initiative and proactivity in previous roles.

Once you hire them, give them the tools they need to be successful, guidance when they need it, then allow them to do their jobs.

2. Create Choice

Choice is imperative to autonomy, but so are boundaries. Give your team the creative freedom to decide how a certain target will be reached, but be wary that too much choice can be dangerous.

Make it clear what your expectations are, what the target goal is, what can absolutely not happen and so on. Even within clear boundaries, employees are keen on choice — all the while, you are calling the shots.

3. Anticipate Mistakes

Understand that nothing is perfect and mistakes will occur. In fact, you want mistakes to occur sometimes, as they offer valuable lessons for growth and learning.

When management becomes overly critical of their team, employees are less apt to take chances, experiment and be creative. The result of a stifled team will more than likely translate into stifled performance.

Consider setting forth a policy for how mistakes will be handled even welcomed, without jeopardizing your business.

For example, the first time a particular mistake occurs, there will be no repercussions, and team members will work together and solve the problem without fear of consequence.

Every subsequent mistake (of the same variety) will be handled solely by the employee in question. This is just one example. However, you may find it’s not well-suited for your management style.

4. Invest in Your Team

Give your team the tools necessary to be successful, including training, mentorship, coaching or other educational materials.

Doing so is beneficial for all parties involved; as a leader, you can rejoice in a team who is more knowledgeable and capable in their roles; as an employee, you felt valued and inspired to perform the best you can in your role.

Furthering the knowledge of your employees is also a practical way of reiterating company values and culture, as you can select the content and message.

5. Stop Counting the Hours

It may be time to relinquish the 9-5 ideal. As we said, so much of autonomy is about choice — if an employee can accomplish in half the time, what you might expect from a full day’s work, is it justifiable to keep them at their desk all day?

On the other hand, if you truly trust and believe in your team, you shouldn’t need to keep track of their hours, as a measure of their work ethic.

Not all jobs are suited for remote working or varied hours, but if your hesitance stems from control issues, you may want to reassess your priorities. Otherwise, consider striking a balance, where there is a mandatory team meeting, set for the same time every week or so.

Now you’ve got the tools to grant autonomy, so let go over control and let your team, who you have selected and trained, do their jobs.

Remember, once you’ve granted autonomy it’s not easily taken away — if you’re not prepared to give full autonomy, take baby steps to get there.

Are you living the lifestyle you want? Learn about how I achieved a Seven Figure Firm and select a FREE chapter from my book, “Seven Figure Firm: How to Build a Financial Services Business that Grows Itself.”

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5 Ways to Empower Employees with Greater Autonomy
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If you want to stop working in your business and empower your employees with greater autonomy, keep reading to learn about the 5 ways to do so.
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