How I Learned What Empowerment And Providing A Safe Space Really Means
25th June 2021
< 1 min read
Jhem, Project Coordinator & Line Manager.
My career journey and growth over the last four years has honestly been like a whirlwind romance! I’ve gone from only knowing what micromanagement in the workplace means to understanding the true value of empowering people - both myself and my team members - and providing a safe and non-judgemental space to make mistakes. It’s been life-changing!
When I joined Sharesource in 2017 I had no desire other than to be a rank and file employee. I had left a stressful job which focused only on metrics and rules and gave me no time for my mathematics studies. I just wanted to be a normal Network Planner - but the universe had other plans for me! Within my first week, I was promoted to Team Leader - something I thought I had no time and space for. I was shocked, I wanted to lay low. And the adjustment to an entirely different open and transparent culture was hard. I had no idea how to be relaxed, trusting and less strict at work. Letting go of what I knew was very challenging.
How could I and should I adapt my leadership style in order to be successful? I turned to my Australian Operations Manager for help but she gave me no answers to my questions. She didn’t tell me what to do. Instead, she provided a safe and non-judgemental space for me to make and see my mistakes, and only then did I realise that change was not going to come through her or anyone else. The only way to bring about the change I needed was by changing myself!
I gradually started asking my team members what their expectations of me were. I opened an honest and transparent dialogue between us. Unsurprisingly, they were hesitant in opening up at first. I was known as a hard taskmaster after all! It took patience and constant communication to get them to trust me. I gave them what my Operations Manager had given me - a safe space. Eventually they felt comfortable enough to give me honest - and constructive - feedback. They let me know where I could improve - and where we could make our tools and processes better. Rather than them relying on me to pass on their suggestions, I encouraged them to present them to our Leadership team directly. Not only did my management style improve exponentially, but we moved from laborious manual processes to more efficient and visible online systems. Their feedback was solution-based and as their suggestions were implemented, their confidence grew and they became empowered. Just as I had been.
Everyone, right up to our CEO, listened and made themselves available. Changes were implemented. Relationships improved. I realised that I was a role model. As our People Manager pointed out, I was positively influencing people. When I started to become open-minded, trust and listen, everyone else followed. I learned how crucial it is to really live your values. This journey has led me to a deep place of contentment. I have created my career pathway for myself - as all our team members are doing. Every day we are unlocking challenges and skill sets in order to map out our career journey. The opportunities we are given for growth have truly empowered both myself and my colleagues - and I am deeply appreciative of this.
This journey has positively impacted my whole life. Outside of work I have learned to rationalise more - and not get angry so quickly. I have learned to stop and breathe and think before speaking or typing! I don’t interact with people, professionally or personally, when I am emotional anymore. I always give people the opportunity to redeem themselves - as I am given the same. I’ve also realized that focusing on your goals - rather than your pay cheque - makes your journey easier than it’s really possible to say! Empowering people and providing a safe space leads to continual improvement and forward momentum - it’s the only way to be in life!
If you’re looking for a remote team partner who truly cares about adding value to your business, Sharesource could be the answer you’re looking for. Download our eBook, '30 Essential Questions to Ask a Provider Before You Outsource’ to ensure you're informed and have the right questions to ask when considering the next step.
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