We are a tribal species. The human race thrives best when groups of people live, work, and act in support of one another. Yes, differences can arise, but for the most part, we achieve the best when we operate within a group. Leaders who focus on equipping others can build the better tribes.
To lead such a group requires not just personal accomplishment, but group advancement too. Becoming a better person is not limited to the leader’s responsibility alone. The leader must be able to equip others within the organization to grow and prosper. There are different kinds of growth to consider. The levels of equipping for this growth change depending upon the subject. Here are a few areas to find.
- Growth in knowledge and understanding for a task
- Increase in personal sense of achievement
- Basic prosperity
- Sense of well-being, belonging
Leaders have the daunting task of doing the equipping of those in their tribe so that members of the team make appropriate contributions to the group as a whole. The best question a business leader can ask is team is “how can I help you?” That matter opens the door for productive growth discussions. It builds trust and allows the group member to express needs for ways to make the team and the business better.
Starting with that simple question begins the process of equipping your team, your tribe, your community with ways to grow and thrive.
Growth in knowledge and understanding for a task
For any employee or associate to make the best contribution to the greater good, they must be equipped with the basic understanding of the work they have been assigned to do. Yes, we often hire skill sets that we believe can make the right choices. However, every business has its own set of process and procedures to follow so that the outcome is consistent. You must equip individual team members with the knowledge of those requirements.
This is why training is such a big deal at most companies. We train about the process, procedure, regulatory matters, safety, production, and so on. Growing your team’s understanding of these things allows them to operate in proper accord with your vision and mission. Otherwise, they might be doing things that are functionally correct, but inconsistent with your brand’s objectives.
If I’m supposed to fry a quarter pound hamburger patty, but I make them half a pound instead, the customer may be happy, but my burger hut won’t last long. Conversely, if the patty is just a few ounces, not a full quarter pound, the customer may be angry. Again, my little burger hut won’t last long. If I teach my team to make fantastic quarter-pound hamburgers with just the right ratio of meat to bun, then I can build a brand that attracts repeat business from happy customers.
Growth in personal sense of achievement
Much is written and studied these days about employee engagement. The most frequently rated topic is the notion of an individual sense of accomplishment. People want to come to work or to their tribe setting able to be rewarded with a sense of doing something meaningful. It makes good common sense. People think if what I do doesn’t mean anything, why should I do it. It’s wiring in the brain folks.
As leaders, we can encourage our team to do more by equipping them with this sense of achievement. This cannot be a false accolade, as people smell that a mile away. No, it has to be real, practical, and meaningful acknowledgment for things done well and done right. Nothing should be taken for granted.
The way you as a leader communicate the accomplishments of a team means a lot. You need to do it in group settings and individually with your team. I am an advocate for a management practice called Big 5. It sets a framework and a process by which employees (or any team members like volunteer organizations) can make routine, monthly reports of the things they think are accomplishments. The manager reviews the reports and sets a time to go over the details of the person, every month. It allows a routine for talking about individual achievement. Companies and organizations who have adopted Big 5 have seen employee engagement rise significantly.
Leaders offering a framework like Big 5 can prove they are equipping their people with ways to experience a personal sense of achievement.
The leader’s role in equipping their followers with an underlying sense of well-being is, in my mind, a tricky subject. I mean how much can I, as a leader, worry about making someone happy. The answer is I cannot. However, I can build an environment for my team wherein there is a sense of worth and a sense of growth that happens.
A leader must engage their followers in ways to recognize their individuality while still showing a way for them to have a meaningful place on the team (see above). To the extent that you and your company can impact financial prosperity, you must do so. It is the reward for the individual’s contribution to the work effort. Success though is not limited to financial matters.
The mental environment is critical too. Stress, pressure, and outside distractions must be controlled as much as possible by the leader. Equipping your team with a healthy environment for doing their work adds to a sense of prosperity.
Sense of well-being, belonging
Lastly, if we as leaders can equip our followers with a healthy sense of belonging, they will become faithful followers of our cause. This is not cult-like following, but stable, efficient building of the climate for helping your tribe want to belong. When your followers are happy they are there, you will achieve more and see better results. It will make people want to show up each day, ready to get to work, whatever that effort may be.
Again, this is not limited to the traditional workplace. These principles apply to the community, church, and even home life.
[reminder]In what others ways can you think of ideas for equipping your team?[/reminder]