How To Lead With Optimism & Empower Your Team

Lead Your Team

Lead Your Team

In order to lead effectively, you must have a team that feels empowered to accomplish both their individual and team goals. But how do you make your team know they have the authority to make decisions on their own? We sat down with company founders, c-suite executives, and industry leaders to share the wisdom they’ve gleaned over the years on how to lead with a positive attitude and give their employees the power to lead themselves. 

 

Collaborate

“Effectively, change is almost impossible without industry-wide collaboration, cooperation, and consensus,” says Simon Mainwaring, Founder and CEO of We First, Inc.

If you want to be a good leader, you must engage with your team. Listen to their needs, offer feedback, and value their input. If you want your team to be empowered, then be willing to collaborate. You’ll both be able to reach your goals more easily if you’re willing to work together to achieve success. 

Collaborating also shows your team that you trust them. Instead of micromanaging them, you’re working together. Trust is a building block to empowerment. People believe they have the authority to execute when they know their leaders trust them to do a good job. 

 

Empower Everyone

“Don’t limit your empowerment efforts to your direct team. Empower everyone you come into contact with. When you make it a habit to empower your friends, family members, and colleagues, it will be easier to empower your team. Smart leaders know that what they do in their personal life can bleed into their professional life.” – Dan Potter, Head of Digital at CRAFTD London

 

Be Positive

“It’s imperative as a leader to learn to control your emotions. Even if you’re having a tough day, a positive attitude is critical. When your team sees you persevering through challenges with a positive and optimistic attitude, they’re more likely to do the same. A good attitude is contagious, just as a negative attitude is. If you want your team to be enthusiastic, then you need to be as well.” – Justin Soleimani, Co-Founder of Tumble

 

Be Appreciative

“Saying “thank you” goes a long way in creating a team filled with empowered people. When your employees feel appreciated, they’re more likely to be confident in their abilities. They’ll work harder and have a better attitude since they know their efforts are getting noticed. While saying “thanks” should be a no-brainer for large tasks, don’t forget to show your appreciation for small tasks too.” – Karim Hachem, VP of eCommerce at La Blanca

 

Ask Them their Goals

“When you ask your team what their individual goals are, you’re showing them that you’re interested in what they want to achieve. You’re also projecting a supportive demeanor. Employees want to work for people who will help them achieve their objectives.” – Gia Marie Jurosky, Director of Communications at RoseSkinCo

Asking your employees their goals also encourages them to be optimistic about their future. When you have a specific goal in mind and support surrounding you, you know you’re in control. You’re empowered to make decisions that will benefit not only your team but also you as an individual.  

 

Help Them Find their Strengths

“Everyone wants to feel like they’re good at something. As a leader, one of your jobs is to help your team find their individual and collective strengths. This will encourage your employees and allow them to feel good about themselves and the role in which they play at your company. When someone identifies their specific skill set, they usually want to lean in and will start taking on tasks that show those strengths off.” – Fred Gerantabee, Chief Experience Officer at Readers.com

 

Lead by Example

Instead of telling your employees you want them to have a certain attitude or work ethic, you need to lead by example. If you want them to show up to meetings on time, then you need to be early and ready to go when they arrive. If you want them to hit deadlines, then ensure all of your work is done promptly. 

The same is true for an optimistic attitude. If you want your team to show positivity in the face of adversity, then you need to be optimistic about projects or initiatives that are facing challenges. Teams take their cues from their leaders. 

 

Give Your Team Autonomy

If you want your team to feel empowered, give them independence. No one likes to be micromanaged. You may feel like you need to constantly check up on your employees now that many people are working remotely, but resist the temptation. Empowerment comes from trust. Show your employees that you trust them by giving them autonomy. This will also teach self-discipline and lead to increased productivity.

 

Support Them no Matter What

“It’s imperative that you support your employees when they’re succeeding, and when they’re struggling. Empowering teams means helping them overcome challenges. You can do this by first identifying the cause of the obstacle in their path, and then finding ways to overcome said obstacle. Don’t be afraid to mentor them, offer time off, or schedule weekly 1:1 meetings. Employees do better when they know they have a supportive manager looking out for them.” – Jim Marggraff, CEO of Kinoo  

 

Congratulate a Job Well Done

“While it’s important to support teams who are struggling, it’s also important to show your support to teams who are excelling. Do this by recognizing their accomplishments. Consider handing out a bonus to top performers each month. This practice has been known to boost morale and create a positive work environment. Who doesn’t love a bonus? This will encourage productivity and inspire other team members to work a little harder each month.” – Christy Pyrz    Chief Marketing Officer of Paradigm Peptides

 

Help Them Find the Answers

To empower a team, you can’t give them all the answers. You have to help them find them on their own. You can point them in the right direction and offer tips and resources, but encourage them to solve issues without you. When they do, they’ll feel good about themselves and empowered. 

Part of being a good leader is to encourage others to be leaders themselves. Being skilled at brainstorming solutions and problem-solving are important characteristics of workplace leaders. 

 

Foster Open Communication

“Make sure you communicate your ideas, projects, and goals clearly to your team. If you want to be able to lead with optimism and empower your employees, everyone needs to be on the same page. You also need to create an environment where people are comfortable speaking up. Bring them into brainstorming sessions. Try out new ideas. When your team is empowered to speak their mind, the whole company benefits.” – Alan Ahdoot, Founder and Partner at Adamson Ahdoot Law

 

Be a Partner

“In the past, a leader was a boss. Today’s leaders must be partners with their people… they no longer can lead solely based on positional power,” says Ken Blanchard, co-founder and Chief Spiritual Officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies

Form a bond with your team members. Offer to be a mentor to them. The best teams are ones that don’t have a clear power structure, it’s more of a partnership. Help your team reach both their individual and team goals. When you spend time coaching them to succeed, they’ll in turn help the company at large succeed. 

 

Ask for their Opinion

At the end of the day, if you want to lead with optimism and empower your team, ask your employees how they think you can do that (if you aren’t currently). Instead of always giving your team feedback, turn the tables. Ask for feedback yourself. Many times we have blindspots and it’s hard to see what we’re missing. The best way to improve is to figure out where your weaknesses are, and then spend time and energy turning them around.

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