Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Keeping Your Cool

We have all done it before, your kids spill their juice on your new carpet, or even worse, they’ve decided that your living room walls needed a bit more colour! You start screaming “What were you thinking?”…Uttering comments under your breath that normally would never come out of your mouth.  Afterwards you think, or someone points out, you could have handled that better.  The immediate reaction is never one that wants to be remembered but sadly, often is.

Similarly at work, a situation arises.  My immediate reaction is to yell, scream and demand better while pounding my fist on the desk.  Yes, I will probably get a reaction from these types of actions.  But does this empower anyone to do better?  Not really, they are just reacting to my reaction.

Whereas if I look at the situation from all the angles, investigate, talk to all the people involved then get them together and talk about what happened.  We can create a solution as a team. By involving all parties, you help ensure that the solution is followed through with and everyone is aware of the consequences if it is not. 

Empowerment is a term that many people use without truly understanding it.  It is a process that challenges people to think about what can and should be done.  It helps foster creativity, teamwork and success.  When you empower those around you, you ultimately give them the power to change something instead of demanding it. Empowering the people around you shows that you value their opinion; they contribute to the group on a larger scale.  Allowing people to take action and gain control of their own problems.  People work better as a team.  Given the opportunity most people will rise to the occasion. 

One thing to keep in mind is that although the team may have come up with a solution, it might be different from what you (the leader) thinks is the “right” solution. Remember, you have are looking to them to solve the problem.   You have empowered them to do so.

As a leader, I need to remind myself that joy is not found in completing an activity but by doing it.  As long as we meet the goal, find a solution and exceed our expectations – the journey of getting there is worth more than the destination itself.

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