Communication is a Two Way Street
If you truly want your team to have more ownership you need to nurture the mindset of ownership and focus on collaboration. Follow these simple steps to move from telling to truly communicating your vision:
- Ask your team to repeat back to you the company story or vision. Can they tell you the vision in their own words? If not, resist the temptation to tell and start to ask questions. Ownership is a mindset and if you want your team to adopt a mindset of ownership then you need to change the way they think, which rarely happens through lectures. If an employee doesn't know what the vision for your business is, discuss it with them and discover how they connect with it and what it means to them.
- Be willing to receive input. Ask your employees how their position contributes to the vision. Find out if they have questions or ideas about how their position could add more value to reaching the vision. Obviously, the ultimate decisions for change lie with the business owner, but if you want an employee to take ownership you must treat them as if they have ownership. Look at the relationship you have with your team. Is it collaborative? Are they willing to provide their opinions? Do they feel heard?
- Understand why the vision is important to your team. Get to understand why their job and the success of the company is important to your employees. Ask them what motivates them. Are they connected to a core belief of the company? Are they motivated by their work? Do they enjoy being a part of a team that works together to achieve results? Are they passionate about meeting the needs of your clients? Are they motivated personally by having a job that allows them to take care of their family? Understanding what drives and motivates your employees will help you connect them to how their position enables the vision to be realized.
- Be aware of how you address things that are not in alignment with the vision. When something in the day to day operation happens that is not in line with the vision, it's easy to let emotions take control. Often times this leads to more telling and pointing out or insisting why something is important to the business. Resist the urge to tell and challenge yourself to ask questions that help you and your team gain clarity and a common understanding about what is in alignment with the vision. Discus the results that are needed and ask questions that cause your employees to describe needed results and standards or criteria for achieving them. Working on nurturing a mindset of ownership means you have to engage your team in new ways of thinking that lead to their taking ownership of the results of their position.