The Basics of Building a Culture of Empowerment

Team | August 13, 2018
The LPMA Team

Empowerment unlocks the talent within the team to achieve more. It is not, though, a license for ill discipline or poor planning. To drive a culture of empowerment, each person on the team must accept a new level of possibility, and push to drive beyond that.

Principals

There are so many different dynamics and challenges in a property management business which make it impossible to run the business in a strict ‘command and control’ mode. Where to draw the line is a question of judgement in the relevant circumstances, but ultimately, the principal must cede some decision-making authority to the team. Where a principal draws the line will depend on the capabilities of the team and each member within it, the strength of the leadership team and the challenges faced. Reasonable people may disagree on where the line should sit, but there is a line. That said, there are definitely some things that cannot be compromised.

Empowerment is all about allowing and encouraging team members to make decisions It’s completely unreasonable to encourage people to make decisions unless there is a clear overarching set of company goals to provide a reference point when making decisions.

These goals are the true north for the agency and will empower others to navigate the decision-making process with confidence. Without it, the principal is just asking people to do what they want with no unifying goal. There is only one place this decision making will end, chaos, not empowerment.

The second principal responsibility is to support and mentor the team in their decision-making process. Empowerment is not an excuse for a principal to become detached. In many ways, supporting a culture of empowerment is harder than making all the decisions oneself. This is because the principal must still be involved and sometimes consulted with when determining the outcome of the decision. Still, principals hold the largest key to unlocking empowerment within the agency.

Team members

Working in a property management business is never boring! There are always new challenges and issues arising that need to be addressed.

It quickly becomes clear that property managers must be able to make good decisions in a relatively short amount of time and do so without always seeking ‘approval’ from the boss. If they don’t, the whole process will become paralysed. If the business is to run with any efficiency then each team member must take on a certain amount of decision making responsibility.

As a professional, each individual must find her or his own balance between making decisions when she or he is comfortable to do so, while also seeking input when he or she is not. When advancing in a career, this balance will always be a little uncomfortable. There must be an honest and realistic self-awareness of personal capabilities and experience, while responsibilities must be taken seriously. Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help but at the end of the day receiving assistance from someone with more experience will help the person, the team and the business.

There are two golden rules that are worth remembering: The first one is, never hide mistakes or issues. Empowerment is not a complete delegation of the business to the individual. It does not mean the end of ‘teaming.’ If something comes up that the boss should be aware of, the individual must raise the issue with him or her and move to resolve it.

The second is, the opportunity is there for the taking. In any business, there is always room for excellence and improving how things are done. Whether it processes, strategy, tooling, or even management, take the initiative where it exists, drive change and prove value.

An empowered culture makes for an empowered workforce who will push results.

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