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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