Every individual possesses a unique set of psychological characteristics, and this is why the existence of all teams is associated with diversity. Leading a team is a practice that is inextricably connected with leadership challenges, especially when it comes to the necessity to empower team members. Finding the right way to empower people in a team is extremely important as the opportunity to make decisions on their own has a positive impact on many individuals, making them more creative and immune to stress.
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There is a range of ways to empower individuals who form teams at work or educational institutions. Importantly, a thoughtful leader is supposed to choose the empowering strategy based on the key task of a team and its urgency. I believe that the approach to empowering other people should be chosen concerning the context of the situation and my relationships with others. Being a person who sets a high value on diverse social interactions, I have vast experience in leading various teams. However, there is no specific empowering strategy that I use under any circumstances.
When I was a sports team captain a few years ago, I formed my strategy operating on the premise that my teammates and I were in an equal position. Taking into account that we were not professional sporting participants, I thought that all team members were equally responsible for the outcomes and this leadership was rather informal. My approach to empowering others in that team included strengthening emotional links between players and encouraging openness. Thus, in more informal situations, I tend to choose necessary practices proceeding from the fact that emotional cohesiveness helps individuals to enjoy teamwork and get positive emotions (Smith 17). As for me, I am convinced that all people benefit from trust-based relationships with teammates, and this approach helps them to succeed.
The strategy that I prefer to use to empower people in my team is different from the previous one when it comes to all-or-none situations that require taking well-considered decisions. In his book, Lowney defines love as one of the most important qualities of leadership. To him, people who implement a love-driven approach to leadership can see each follower’s talents clearly and find unique ways to elicit their potential (Lowney 170). In my opinion, the combination of this approach and measures helping to create a culture of responsibility acts as the best-empowering strategy to be used in difficult business situations.
Various practices are helping to foster teamwork, but the quality of group working heavily depends on the extent to which people see their efforts as important. To foster teamwork among those whom I lead, I prefer to ensure that all team members are interested in achieving the chosen goal. Also, it is indicated by many authors that proper teamwork is impossible without organizational structures (Marx 82). I agree with Lowney that “using others to achieve a self-interested agenda” is inappropriate and ineffective (178). As opposed to setting a goal that would be helpful to all team members, the above-mentioned approach equates people to material resources and, therefore, makes them work without inspiration.
Overall, the strategy that I use to foster teamwork among the people I lead centers around three main principles. To begin with, I find it important to outline roles based on team members’ competencies and advantages. Apart from that, it is always necessary to develop an organizational structure (sometimes informal) to ensure an effective exchange of relevant information. Finally, I strongly believe that fostering teamwork becomes possible only when a leader demonstrates that the opinion of each team member is valuable.
Lowney, Chris. Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company that Changed the World. Loyola Press, 2010.
Marx, Thomas George. “The Impacts of Company Size on Leadership.” Management and Organizational Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, 2017, pp. 82-89.
Smith, Jim L. “Empowering Teams.” Quality, vol. 56, no. 6, 2017, p. 17.