One of the most important ways you can create a lean workplace is to foster an environment of empowerment. Generally, empowering your employees is defined by actions you take to give them more autonomous control of their work. By giving them the authority and tools to take control of their workplace, this will help eliminate wasted time and maximize efficiency.
Creating an empowered workplace will not happen overnight; it is an ongoing process that will continue to grow as your business grows and adapts to become more and more lean.
What can you do today to build that empowered workplace?
1. Recognize employees when they do something right, especially if it was self-directed. Encourage them to translate this behavior to other areas of the business.
2. Allow employees to understand other aspects of your organization, so they may have a more well-rounded perspective of the business as a whole. This will also give them the scope of understanding to be able to contribute ideas for improvement.
3. Sit down regularly with employees to discuss goals for the future. Giving them a clearly defined map of routes to other positions for which they can strive will allow them to take control of their future in your organization.
4. Take the time to outline the specific goals you want each employee to achieve within a larger task. Giving them a clear understanding of your needs to the end-goal will let them work within their environment to reach those goals in a way that works for them.
5. Explain to employees what aspects of their job are mandatory and what aspects are open for them to take ownership.
6. Set deadlines for tasks, then let your employees work toward the deadline in a way that is most comfortable for them.
Delegate Decision Making
7. Make sure employees know when they can exercise authority over a task and when they should seek manager approval. This will eliminate wasteful time spent seeking approval, when post-action feedback would suffice.
8. During meetings, seek out the opinions of your employees before expressing your own. By giving them the opportunity to speak first, it takes the pressure of agreeing with you off of your employees and will inspire more creative approaches.
Encourage Open Communication
9. At the completion of a project, ask employees for an assessment of how the project as a whole was executed. Feedback from the people actively involved in the completion of a task is invaluable in working toward a more lean environment.
10. Ask pointed questions rather than a general request for feedback from employees. Creating an anonymous online survey for them to complete is a great way to get honest, critical feedback that will lead to the overall growth of your team and your organization.
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