Management / Empower your team

Today is the day I discovered Google's re:Work project ( It is organized around some of the biggest ways you can make an impact in your workplace. Each subject contains guides, with tools and insights, for addressing specific challenges.

I find it useful and would like to share an excerpt from one of the Guides on Management called "Empower your team":

Google's manager research revealed that effective managers empower their teams by giving them opportunities to stretch and grow in four ways. These managers:
  • Do not micromanage. Encourage managers to delegate work to their team and support team members who take initiative on new ideas.
  • Balance giving freedom with being available for advice. One Googler described how a manager empowered her team: "She lets people run with ideas, but knows when to step in and offer advice to not pursue a failing issue.”
  • Make it clear they trust their team. Suggest that managers give team members the authority to make decisions on their projects without constant check-ins. Avoiding the pitfalls of micromanagement can help build a culture of trust and accountability within a team.
  • Advocate for the team in the wider organization. Encourage managers to share their team’s accomplishments with their own managers and beyond.
The most effective managers usually realize that they work for their teams and not the other way around.
It can be difficult for a manager to find the right balance when supporting a team member. Too much oversight might feel like micromanagement; too little might set them up for failure. And this balance might change over time as a team member’s skills evolve. Managers don’t have to be mind readers to get this right. Google has found that discussing support levels with a team member can help to calibrate the manager.

Adapt, assess, and collaborate

To prepare for this discussion about how much support is appropriate, Google encourages managers to ask themselves these questions:
  • Assess: What is the capability and motivation of the team member who is going to be working on the task?
  • Adapt: What type of management style will be most effective for this team member? 
  • Collaborate: What type of support will this team member need to complete the task successfully? Will the support come from you, or other team members?

Delegate effectively

Delegating the right projects to the right team members can be tough. The research team found that delegating, or giving authority, responsibility, and decision-making control to an individual or a team, is a behavior of high-scoring managers. Google uses these delegation tips to help managers scope work for delegation, support their team members, and follow through to ensure completion and recognition:

Look at the goals. What is the final objective and what results are needed to achieve it? What parts can be delegated?
Look at yourself. What tasks can’t you delegate, and why? Which tasks play to your own strengths and weaknesses?
Recognize the right person for the work. Who has the right skills to do the work? How might this task help them develop?
Delegate. Have a conversation with the delegatee:
  • Give an overview of the work, including the importance of the assignment, the resources at hand, and why you have chosen the delegatee.
  • Describe the details of the new responsibility. Define the scope of the role, and set performance standards and intended results. Set clear expectations but avoid prescribing how the assignment should be completed. 
  • Solicit questions, reactions, and suggestions. Make this a dialogue.
  • Listen to the delegatee’s comments and respond empathetically. Make sure they understand what is expected of them.
  • Share how this impacts the team. Help establish priorities and relieve some of the pressure by getting someone else to share some of the delegatees routine tasks for the duration of the assignment. Make sure to notify those affected by the delegatee's new project as well.
  • Be encouraging. Express confidence in the delegatee’s ability.
  • Establish checkpoints, results, deadlines, and ways to monitor progress. The entire discussion should be a collaborative process.
Stay in touch. Keep in contact with the delegatee and observe the checkpoints you agreed to at the outset. Remember, delegating means letting go.
Recognize and reward. Acknowledge the delegatee for successful completion of the assignment.

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