The most important thing about leading on a project is getting the best from your team.

Everyone working together and performing to the pinnacle of their ability can yield real results, but what can push success that extra mile is when each member of your team takes on responsibility.

Responsibility can be given out, but it’s even more rewarding and reassuring when responsibility is taken on initiative.

The best way to get the most out of your team when working on a project is to empower them to take responsibility for their own work and their own results.

They can earn the credit for a job well done and also take culpability when things don’t go quite to plan — and learn from it.

Encouraging team members to take responsibility for their own work can lead to them being more productive and put more effort into something if their name and reputation are attached.

Here are 8 management industry tips to help foster responsibility among your team for you to try out in your next project.

1. Let Employees Choose the Right Approach for Them

Everyone works differently, so if your team members are going to take on more responsibility then give them the space to figure out what way of working is best for them to complete their tasks.

Show them the bigger picture, and let them know that it’s their hard work and initiative that’s getting them there. According to a Gallup survey, 37% of engaged employees are looking for jobs or are open to new opportunities within their organisation. Create choice within boundaries and allow them to demonstrate what they’ve learned to benefit everyone else.

Allowing a degree of autonomy while working helps employees find their feet when approaching tasks. Mistakes may be made, but they can learn from them when you provide feedback and encouraging initiative, boosting their enthusiasm and productivity, which is a win-win for everyone involved.

Barry Chignell writing for CIPHR suggests that allowing individuals to adapt their approach to their responsibilities will give them an increased sense of control over the tasks they’ve been charged with, which will benefit their performance.


2. Demonstrate What Your Standard Is

Allowing a degree of responsibility and autonomy to your team members is beneficial, but it is important that they are aware of what is expected from them in return.

Set out a clear strategy from the start:

  1. Define the end goal.
  2. Make a plan of how to get there.
  3. Set a deadline for when the project should be completed by.
  4. Outline the standard that success is measured by.

Give space to allow people to air their issues and fix problems when they occur and demonstrate what quality of work is expected without being overly critical and smothering initiative.

There’s no shame in asking for help from management but over reliance on management can hamper responsibility-taking.

Encourage your team to manage their time effectively. Not reaching a deadline on time need not be the end of the world, as long as responsibility is taken and the missed deadline is intercepted and communicated to management before it’s too late to rectify.

Giving responsibility to employees to reach the end goal in a project means that you’re trusting them to get the job done right — they’ll be less likely to let you down now they know what you expect.


3. Encourage Ownership in Team’s Work

Ownership of work falls under two categories: Taking pride in the work being done and being responsible for what is produced.

Each member is at the helm of their own piece of work, so it’s only logical that the more pride they put into their work, the higher the quality of the end product.

When each employee is held accountable for the quality of their work and it is done well, it demonstrates that they can be trusted to get the job done and produce high-quality work on projects in the future.

Being part of a project and a member of the team instils a sense of belonging to the work you produce and the results you achieve.

Keeping trust among your team allows you to get on with your work as a leader instead of having to worry about details that don’t require your attention.

Warren Tanner says that “Having trust in the workplace tells others — “I believe in you. I believe you’ll do the right thing and I believe you’ll do what you say you’re going to do.”

Ownership means that the team members will take careful, thought-out decisions on their own work, with staying motivated and always going forward with new ideas means that they are relishing the responsibilities that they’ve been given.

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4. Lead By Example

“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss The leader leads, and the boss drives.”  Theodore Roosevelt

When others see you taking on responsibilities it can act as a catalyst for others to assume some responsibility for themselves, and that should be applauded.

If they are going out of their comfort zone to take on more responsibility in a project they may require a bit of direction at the beginning, so it’s important that you listen to the opinions, thoughts, concerns and ideas of your team.

Be on hand to provide thinking outside of the box — this will encourage others to do the same and it offers ideas and solutions that may not have been considered before.

Delegating responsibility to your team members is the ultimate act of trust, saying that you have faith in their ideas and ability to complete the task.

If things aren’t going as planned, be the first to call it out and attempt to rectify it. It will hearten the employees to know that you have their backs.


5. Expect Employees To Make Their Own Decisions

Once your team members have been given responsibility it’s time to let them make decisions for themselves.

Joel Trammell, Founder and CEO of Khorus Software encourages leaders to let their employees know they cannot bring a decision to the manager’s desk without thoroughly analyzing the issue and taking a position.

Joel outlines that requiring each team member to explain how they arrived at their conclusion should ensure that each employee has considered all the options.

Being on top of people when they are trying to get work done can harm their productivity and lead to a culture where every action must seek approval before being implemented.

They may make the wrong decisions from time to time and may need guidance, but learning from those decisions will be better for their performance and ownership of their work in the long run.

Your team will learn that being proactive with their responsibility will achieve the best results, using their own methods on how to get there.


6. Give your Team a Place to Share Information

Communication is the key to succeeding, so it’s a no-brainer that when employees are given responsibility, communication between each other in the team and with management should be made as straight forward as possible.

Information can mean: help with the project, a management opinion on providing direction, giving feedback when it is required and support when it is needed.

Everyone must receive the same information at the same time to avoid some instructions being misconstrued or misinterpreted.

David Semerad is the co-founder of STRV – a mobile app development company – suggests giving your employees and team members bite-sized chunks of information as and when they’re needed.

Figure out what they need to know, keep it to the point and think about when you send them the information.

David says he believes that it’s the team leader’s responsibility to adapt and find out the ways your team works best, to help everyone tackle their tasks effectively as a collective.


7. Be Reliable

You want results and responsibility, not excuses. The more you’re on hand but not in their face, the more comfortable responsibilities can feel to your team members. After all, as a leader, you’re there to provide the tools and assets to get your team there.

Being on-hand to provide encouragement, guidance and feedback are the most important ingredients when encouraging responsibility in your team.

Being reliable encourages your team to take more risks and be bolder when completing their tasks because they know that you have their backs. They’re more likely to be overly cautious if they feel that they are on their own.

Responding quickly to thoughts and concerns on a project from your team means that they can receive what they need and be back out completing their tasks as quickly as possible, leading to fewer things falling through the cracks.


8. Reward Responsibilities 

According to research carried out by O.C.Tanner, when results and efforts are recognised by management:

  1. Employees feel increased confidence in their skills,
  2. They have an understanding that they are on track and in good standing with their manager,
  3. And they feel they have an improved relationship with their team.

After your team has taken on and completed a project, it’s up to you as a leader to follow up after work and provide constructive feedback, then allow your team the space to offer feedback on how they think the project went.

Assuming responsibility in your team or on a project is to be applauded. In the long run, responsibility can be rewarded with more autonomy and more power next time around — having demonstrated that they can be trusted to get the job done right.

Everyone likes getting rewarded for a job well done. Acknowledgement, praise and more responsibility next time round spurs team members on to give their best and encourages others to examine their own responsibilities when it comes to teamwork and to assume more next time.

Make Tameday Your Office’s Solution for Project Management and Collaboration

Tameday Sample To-do List

  • Tameday is a project management and team collaboration tool with communication, productivity and individual responsibility in mind.
  • Encouraging responsibility is helped by having a place to share work, ideas and files with everyone on a project.
  • You can instantly chat to management and other colleagues by using the built-in chat feature, talk about how a project is progressing by opening up discussions on different matters and empowering employees to take charge of their own workload by assigning their own to-dos and monitoring their progress.
  • With Tameday you can share company-wide announcements and files, taking the place of emails. Everything is searchable and accountable, so no more “I didn’t get that email!”
  • Tameday includes a Focus Mode feature to allow to you zone out any notifications and chats that you receive so you can focus on the task at hand.
  • Tameday can help you keep in touch with colleagues who are working remotely, keeping them in the loop with access to all documents shared and allowing them to keep on top of their own work.

Tameday keeps every project, team, client and conversation all in one place… And it’s free to use!

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