learnings of empowering teams

#41: What I learned from empowering many teams

From indispensable to unnecessary?

If you have been listening to my podcast, you know that I am obsessed with finding a great work-life balance. I also love change, because I want to learn new things all the time and so changing jobs is what I did very often at the start of my career. In order for me to make time to learn new things and acquire new skills, I had to empower my teams and make myself unnecessary. A lot of managers try to make themselves indispensable in a team, but being unnecessary (and still responsible of course), makes room for you and your team to work on other things such as the future or yourselves. By empowering all my teams, I managed to get great results and so I became the managing director. But how exactly did I manage to empower my teams?

Team retreats avoid defeats

The one thing I’ve always done to empower teams and get great results is team retreats. It is exactly as it sounds. Retreat with your team; take the time to step back and stop for a while. Especially when you are exhausted or when the pressure is high, even if it means temporarily getting worse results. You should retreat at least once or twice a year for at least a day. This doesn’t mean you have to stop all action and go lay on a couch all day though. Stopping gives you the time to think in the long term and adapt your strategy. There is no step-by-step guide for taking these retreats, but I will share with you what we did at QiLeader, last year.

QiLeader BIM-moment

QiLeader has three employees: Daphné, Tatiana, and myself. To take our retreat, we went to the south of Belgium and rented a little house in the woods. There, we had our BIM-moment (BIM meaning: balance, impact, and meaning). Everything I teach is based on having these three elements in your life and so our retreat was based on evaluating these three key elements. 

We started by celebrating because we had some great results. You always have reasons to celebrate, even if it’s only for the little things. We didn’t want to focus only on the things that went wrong or could’ve gone better and neither should you.
The next thing we did, and this is very important, was evaluate the meaning we found in our projects. So we thought about our values and purpose. What do we want? Where do we see ourselves in the next ten years? How big is the team? By thinking about these questions, we found that our purpose is to help leaders build meaningful lives and organizations and our values are balance, impact, and meaning.

The next thing we did on our retreat, was to make a list of absolutely everything that we do, did, or are going to do. By putting all these tasks and projects in a project management tool, we had a better overview of what we are doing. Then we looked at all the tasks and noted how much energy it cost us to do them and how much-added value the tasks had to offer. After we had done that, we could look at the things that cost too much energy and either don’t do them anymore or try to find a more efficient way to do them by automating or delegating them. This is something I did all the time and you should do too: looking for ways to simplify processes in certain projects to save time and energy.
After that, we went for a long walk and went into the bubble bath when we returned to the little house.

The next task on our BIM-moment was to describe all of our processes and add them to our project management tool. Using a tool like that is incredibly helpful, as everyone knows exactly who is working on what. This eliminates the need for extra emails or meetings that would take up our valuable time. 

We ended the day by doing an empowerment evaluation of our team. Based on certain criteria, we would discuss improvements. If you want to evaluate your team, we have developed an empowerment quiz, as well as a free masterclass, that you can find in the link below.

On the last day, we decided to take a look at our future. We talked about the value we could offer to our customers, we talked about the membership that we are planning to launch in May and how we are going to position this membership next to our course. We looked at our calendar for 2021 and asked ourselves a lot of questions about the future of QiLeader.

I hope I have inspired you to also stop with your team for a moment to really think about all the things you have to do and make up your priority, to ask yourself these questions. What should we work on in the future? What are we going to say no to? What are we going to automate? What are we going to improve? If you plan these moments and do them regularly, you will become better and better at it and empower your team!

qileader authentic leadership

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