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Cultivate an independent team with these easy to implement tips

When you think about your current team, what words come to mind? Are they proactive, resourceful and assured? Or are they ambivalent, meek and needy?  

The success of any business relies heavily on the ability of its employees to work confidently and independently. So how do you, as a manager, promote these positive attributes within your team? 

Here are six tips you can use to cultivate a team of independent employees who will strengthen your business while achieving set tasks, goals and targets.

PROVIDE INFORMATION 

Remove doubt and confusion by providing team members with clear and concise guidelines and/or instructions relating to their role in new tasks or projects.  These should include (as relevant); the scope of the work – its purpose, length, target audience and budget, a timeline for drafts (if required) and a completion deadline, the desired outcomes, etc. 

AFFIRM VALUE 

During a one-on-one, face to face conversation, remind each team member why they were hired to work at your business.  Often, when an employee starts in a new role or a long-standing team member has been involved in a restructure, they have trouble finding their place in the broader dynamic of the business. By reminding staff of the skills, experience and assets that qualified them for the job, you will boost their confidence in their ability to succeed.  

DELEGATE TO EMPOWER 

Another way to generate confidence is to give team members tasks they can easily complete.  While they may seem like small victories at the start, successfully completing those tasks will empower your employees to know they can take on bigger and tougher challenges. As their skills and confidence increase, so will their resilience and their ability to think independently, meaning you can delegate more important role to them. 

ENCOURAGE PROACTIVE THOUGHT

Thinking outside of the box and proactive problem solving are skills which can be taught to anyone. And the great thing is, they don’t have to be taught by you.  A buddy or mentor program is a great way to encourage the brainstorming of ideas and the sharing of knowledge and experience at a team level. When problems arise, suggest employees think of two potential solutions each before they come to you for help. Have them discuss the pros and cons together before presenting or implementing the best one.

CELEBRATE MISTAKES

While trial and error methods are not a commercially sound option for all businesses, you have to acknowledge that mistakes will happen. The best way to prepare for those inevitable moments is to create a culture that celebrates the growth that should come from mistakes. By discouraging the blame and negativity often associated with mistakes, your team will have the ability to take calculated risks (within reason). Those risks will result in either great success and innovation for the business or valuable learning opportunities for the individual and team.

STEP BACK 

Your role as a manager is to facilitate independence – not to hold your team member’s hands.  Micromanaging, nit-picking, controlling the content creation and pointing out every little mistake creates low team morale and despondent employees. If you want a team that is independent, you need to give them the space to be that. When you’re not available all the time, your staff will adapt by becoming more autonomous. So close the door, work away from the office or even take a holiday – your team will be more resilient from your distance.

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