SME leaders and entrepreneurs are constantly needing to make business-critical decisions ‘ that’s the nature of the job. While this will always remain part of the gig, COVID-19 has transformed decision-making processes. Team members now have an increasing amount of input in day-to-day operations. Companies who have embraced this are all the stronger for it.
Leaders can no longer rely on a top-down approach where teams are told what to do and when to do it. With the world changing at such an exponential rate, business leaders need to be agile. Look instead to a bottom-up approach ‘ a model where teams feel empowered to have control over their work, make decisions and feel inspired to do their best work every day.
There are a few ways to empower your teams and boost team confidence. Here are some ways to go about it.
Build a culture of speaking up
Create a workplace environment where employees embrace a speak-up culture. Now more than ever, team members want a say ‘ whether it’s about the operational impacts of Covid-19 or safety processes. Feeling confident and knowing they have a valued voice can go a long way ‘ in fact SafetyCulture research shows it’s a top priority for staff when considering new jobs or roles.
Whether you’re a start-up or a more established business, there are ways to make it more comfortable for team members to speak up ‘ about any issues, new ideas, or feedback. The reality is that many people are not willing to speak up when it matters ‘ leaving most voices and concerns unheard. This can easily change however if you give your teams the right tools and technology that promotes a positive feedback loop. Consider scannable QR codes that allow for anonymous issue reporting as they occur so that the right people can be notified and teams can feel empowered to speak up about potential issues.
Streamline ways of working
As we’re forced to keep up with new variants and measures relating to Covid-19, it’s key to recognise the cognitive load that most people are under. The lines between work and home are continually blurred ‘ according to Harvard Business Review, 85% of workers have noticed a decline in their overall wellbeing both at work at home in 2021. This has resulted in a need for simplicity in day-to-day processes.
Complex tasks can be made more efficient in a number of ways and will depend on the nature of your business. To name a few, you can digitise previously manual tasks, declutter unnecessary data or break down chunky tasks into smaller ones. Simplicity is the key ingredient here, and with the desired outcome in mind, you’ll leave your team feeling empowered to focus on work that really matters.
Whether you choose to encourage teams to speak up or to simplify complex processes by sticking to the essentials only, it starts with leadership. It’s necessary for entrepreneurs to attentively listen more, make small changes ‘ empowering and inspiring your teams to do their best work every day.
*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1950 adults (861 US, 554 Australia, 535 UK). Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th August ‘ 9th September 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of US, UK and AU frontline workers