2 New Ways to Empower Your Employees

For your team to continue growing, it is important to try new activities to bolster their development and help them embrace discomfort.

teammates high fiving each other in the office.

Being the leader of a team in any atmosphere is challenging as you are responsible for your actions, each team member’s actions, and the team’s actions as a whole. Depending on many different factors, your leadership style may vary, too. It’s essential to keep in mind that your team may be more receptive to one particular leadership style rather than others. Even so, there is no guaranteed formula to figure out which leadership style would work best with the type of team you have built.

Leadership practices to help teams achieve their full potential

As a leader for more than a decade now, I have learned that no matter what dynamic your team has, there are practices that all leaders can adapt and adjust to get their team to meet its full potential. If you are just starting as a leader, feel like your team is stuck and has more to learn, or are looking to try something new and exciting with your team to spark development and growth (always a good idea), there are a few tips to try.

Personally, something I like to do with my team is Lunch Learning Fridays. Through activities like L.L.F, you will be able to empower your employees to find the balance between mastering a skill and constantly working on developing new ones. When I first started hosting L.L.F., I would pick topics to share with the team that I felt would be beneficial to furthering the team’s education of our industry which, in hand, would bolster growth for the team in their roles.

During our weekly team meetings, I would present a 45-minute slide show about a topic I selected earlier and have an open discussion for questions and comments at the end. My original goal with L.L.F. was to provide consistent educational experiences for my team because I believe in the idea that knowledge is power, so I wanted to have the team activity centered around education.

After a couple of months of doing the weekly Lunch Learning Fridays and analyzing how it was working with my team, I came to two realizations: 1) My team could interact more in these meetings instead of me controlling the meeting the whole time. A leader needs to make sure they are aware of how engaged their team members are because, as we know, engagement has a myriad of benefits. 2) As a result of my first realization, I knew I had to change how the Lunch Learning Friday sessions were conducted, or I would have to find a new way to help my team improve and develop. I had decided to delegate a week to each team member so they could lead the L.L.F. meeting, teaching a topic of their own choice.

Four benefits of giving team members more responsibility

Giving a team member the responsibility of running the presentation that week resulted in the following:

  1. Increased confidence

a.  Teaching information to those who don’t know it well helps you internalize it more. Internalizing this information makes you more of an expert on the topic, thus leading to increased confidence.

b. Speaking and presenting to a group of people, no matter how familiar you are with them or the information, can be nerve-racking. Practicing public speaking is the only way to overcome those nerves and gain confidence in speaking engagements and other types of interactions like with colleagues or clients.

2. Higher engagement

a. Allowing your team members to be more involved allows them to express themselves and their thoughts. That opportunity raises employee morale because they know and feel that their voice is heard. It also forces them to be more involved and in tune with what is going on in the company.

3. Responsibility for each team member

a. Allowing each team member to pick a topic fosters a sense of responsibility, especially as the theme they pick should apply to all and benefit the team’s development. They also have a responsibility to help each other during these presentations. For example, if someone is nervous or struggling (because they all have been or will be in that position), giving them the ability to empathize with each other and build comradery is an excellent practice.

4. A more well-rounded team

a. Putting team members in different roles allows them to learn and glean experience. They get the opportunity to better learn about themselves and the other team members, gaining a new perspective.

After implementing this new and improved L.L.F strategy, I decided to pivot again. I started having my team do the presentations in pairs. Even though having the individual presentations were working well, I learned that switching it up and keeping my team in a slightly uncomfortable state, also known as being in a growth state, would help my team immensely.

As a leader who wants to see consistent and persistent growth in their team, it is important to continue to try new activities with your team to bolster their development and to embrace (and be a champion of) discomfort. Two key takeaways to remember: First, growth happens in uncomfortable situations, so ensure you and your team do not become stagnant. Second, the team represents you; If you want the team to develop and grow, you must put yourself in situations to actively work on growing and improving as a leader.

Ivan Estrada
Ivan Estrada is an inspirational business leader, top-ranked real estate entrepreneur, and sought-after public speaker. He is the CEO of Ivan Estrada Properties and also the author of Brand With Purpose: Find Your Passion, Stay True to Your Story, and Accelerate Your Career.