The Three A's of Empowered Teams

According to a 2015 study, team empowerment accounts for almost 25% of team performance. Empowered teams are high-performing teams. Here’s what I’ve learnt about growing them.

Empowerment isn’t some vague concept. It can be observed. And it can be cultivated. When done right, cultivating an empowered team leads to higher goal achievement, greater individual growth, and more time for leaders to raise their view. Growing empowered teams should be one of a leader’s primary aims.

And so I’ve developed a model for leaders: the Three A’s of Empowered Teams. It’s based on research and my experience growing and working with empowered teams.

Today I’ll start with the overview.

Three factors form the foundation of an empowered team. They define what it means for a team to be empowered. Without all three, the team lacks empowerment and may struggle.

Here are the Three A’s of Empowered Teams: Authority, Accountability, and Ability.

Authority is the authority to make decisions.

A team that cannot make its own decisions is not empowered. As a leader, when cultivating an empowered team you might begin by delegating small tasks. As their confidence and competence grow, you can hand over greater decision-making authority. Ultimately, an empowered team owns each situation from end to end.

Accountability is accountability for outcomes.

Accountability follows from authority. If a team is given the authority to make decisions, they should also be given the accountability for outcomes from those decisions.

But that’s not all there is to it. Another aspect is accountability is “taking proactive responsibility”. It’s not enough for a team to own and accept outcomes as they are. An empowered team looks for how to improve their processes, themselves, and the outcomes. Leaders who nurture empowered teams must hold them to a higher standard.

Ability is the ability to manage the work and themselves.

Ability exists in three dimensions: skill, will, and feel. Skill is competence. It means having the right knowledge and capabilities to complete their tasks. Will is mindset, the desire to do the work. It’s a belief in the team’s purpose, in owning their destiny, and in being open to new ideas. Feel is the state of being. This is the physical, mental, and emotional state of the team and its individuals. How the team feels matters as much as what they know and what they believe.

Empowered teams are high-performing teams. And they’re not illusive. There are clear factors that form the foundation of an empowered team: Authority, Accountability, and Ability. Once you understand them, you can begin to nurture a team that’s high-performing, autonomous, and a driver for employee growth.

Is your team empowered?

© Braden Moore.RSS