Teaching Your Team to Own Their Job

Teaching Your Team to Own Their Job

In our businesses, we want people to own their jobs. This means we want them to take 100 percent responsibility and authority for that job. We encourage them to study it, learn it, understand the problems of that position in the industry and in our own company. To help them to see and create better solutions. I am of the opinion that there is always a better more efficient way of doing things. That does not mean that the way we are currently doing them is bad. On the contrary, the more we work at it, the more subtle the changes we need to make in order to make improvements but they are still there. If you have a great offensive line in football, the changes you need to make to improve become smaller and smaller as you get better and better but there are always ways to get better.

Becoming proactive instead of reactive

In Steven Coveys' 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he emphasizes becoming proactive instead of reactive. Proactive team members take responsibility for their actions, their knowledge, their position and their team. Reactive team members wait for something to happen to them or for them. It is apparent in everything they do: those who tend to shine, who become our superstars, who are successful and more than that who are happy with their careers tend to be those that take this responsibility and become proactive. We must cultivate this culture from the top down. We must give permission at every level for people to take initiative, create ideas, and not be afraid to share those ideas. While this seems self-evident, it is not easy. We are so stuck in the paradigm of Leader-Follower that even though people say they want to be proactive and have a "say" in their roles and in the direction of the company, many are happy to be told what to do so they can avoid "getting in trouble" or "making a mistake". We must work hard at creating a culture where those fears are minimized.

Taking initiative is the opposite of waiting for someone to do things for us

Most people give excuses like they don't know how, or they need someone to help them. Most are waiting for something to happen to them or for them. This is a paradigm shift. This is a different way of thinking. This doesn't change things a little, it changes everything. Imagine if everyone in your business, was taking initiative, creating solutions and owning their job. In order for this to happen we must:

  1. Spend the time, effort, and resources to teach our team members what this means and what they need to in order to truly own their job.
  2. Create the culture where this ownership and initiative are not only permitted but encouraged and all levels. Where team members have not only the permission but it is expected for them to solve their own problems.


I'll be talking about how people can use the attitude of being proactive to be more responsible and thus own their job next week. Stay tuned. Keep Living Every Minute. Dr. Tim