empowered team members

Imagine a workplace where your team isn’t bogged down by endless approval processes. They can solve problems creatively, seize opportunities on the fly, and feel a deep sense of ownership over their work. This isn’t a fantasy; it’s the reality when you empower your team members to make decisions.

Micromanaging every decision, while seemingly safe, stifles creativity, hinders productivity, and demotivates your team. Imagine a workplace where your team isn’t bogged down by endless approval processes. They can solve problems creatively, seize opportunities on the fly, and feel a deep sense of ownership over their work. This empowered team is the engine that drives a truly agile organization.

So, why exactly does empowering your team members to make decisions matter?


The Benefits of an Empowered Team

The advantages of fostering a culture of empowered decision-making are numerous and far-reaching. Benefits include:

  • Faster Decision-Making: No more waiting for the green light from higher-ups. Your team can act swiftly, keeping projects on track and adapting to changing circumstances. Empowering your team cuts through red tape and allows them to be more responsive to market fluctuations, customer needs, and unexpected challenges.
  • Enhanced Ownership: When team members have a say in the decision-making process, they feel a sense of control and responsibility for their work. This leads to higher engagement and motivation. Investing in your team leads to a more motivated and invested workforce. They take pride in their work and are more likely to go the extra mile when they feel their decisions contribute to the team’s success.
  • Unleashing Creativity: Small problems, when left unaddressed, can snowball. Empowering your team to make decisions about how to tackle them fosters innovative solutions, leading to unexpected breakthroughs. Give your team the freedom to brainstorm and experiment, and watch their creativity flourish. They may just come up with solutions you never even considered.
  • Improved Morale: Feeling trusted and valued is a cornerstone of employee satisfaction. When you empower your team members to make decisions, you demonstrate your trust in their abilities, leading to a happier and more productive team. A positive work environment fosters collaboration, knowledge sharing, and a genuine sense of camaraderie.


Building the Framework: Strategies for Empowering Your Team

Now that you understand the “why” behind empowering your team, let’s delve into the “how.” So, how do you actually put empowering your team members to make decisions into practice? Here are some key strategies:

  • Set Clear Boundaries: Define the scope of decision-making for different roles. How much independence does your team have in making decisions? Where should they seek input or approval? Empowering your team doesn’t mean throwing them into the deep end. Set clear boundaries so they know the parameters within which they can make decisions.
  • Invest in Training and Development: Equip your team with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions. Encourage continuous learning and development opportunities. Empowering your team members to make decisions requires them to have the knowledge and skills to back it up. Invest in training and development to ensure they’re confident in their choices.
  • Foster Open Communication: Empowering your team is a two-way conversation. Encourage them to share ideas, concerns, and potential solutions. Foster open communication so they feel comfortable sharing information and making suggestions.
  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate your trust in your team by making decisions collaboratively and seeking their input. Empower your team by leading by example. Show them that you value their insights and involve them in the decision-making process.
  • Celebrate Successes (and Learn from Mistakes): Acknowledge and reward good decision-making. When mistakes happen, use them as learning opportunities, not reasons for punishment. Empowering your team isn’t about micromanaging every decision. Celebrate successes and use mistakes as teachable moments to help them grow.


The $50 Rule: A Practical Example of Empowering Your Team


Take a look at a practical example of empowering your team. The $50 rule empowers team members at all levels to solve problems on the spot, without endless approvals. Here’s how it works:

  • Frontline staff: They have the authority to spend $50 to address immediate needs or fix minor problems. This could mean anything from purchasing a new software subscription to resolve a workflow bottleneck to grabbing supplies needed to complete a customer order.
  • Team Leads and Supervisors: Their budget increases to $500. They can use this to tackle larger issues or invest in resources that benefit their team. This empowers them to make decisions that directly impact their team’s productivity and morale.
  • Directors and Managers: With a budget of $50,000 (increased amount to reflect larger strategic decisions), they have the freedom to address more strategic challenges. This could involve investing in new equipment, attending industry conferences, or hiring temporary staff to meet project deadlines. The key is, they are empowered to make decisions that directly impact the success of their department or team, without getting bogged down in red tape.

The key takeaway? Hiring top talent is just the first step. You need to trust them, give them the tools (and monitors!) to succeed, and most importantly, the freedom to make decisions. Remember, we hire adults, not children.

Don’t expect your team to crush it if you don’t give them permission to crush it. The $50 Rule is a great example of empowering your team. This approach allows team members to spend a designated amount (increasing with seniority) to solve problems on the spot, without endless approvals. 

Remember, empowering your team is not about abdicating responsibility; it’s about fostering trust and collaboration. By giving your team members the freedom to make decisions, you unlock their full potential and set your company up for success.

THE fix my boss workBOOK



This workbook is intended to be used in conjunction with the book, "Fix My Boss" to cultivate respect, risk courageous conversations, and increase the bottom line. The exercises and activities provided will guide you through a step-by-step process of understanding, analyzing, and taking action to create positive change in your workplace.

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