Empowering Others—How and Why

Empowering Others—How and Why

Rachel Bullock

Going from individual contributor to manager can be daunting for many reasons, but I think the one I struggled with the most at first was this: If I’m no longer a Project Manager completing projects on time, on target, and under budget, how will I know if I’m succeeding? How will my boss know that I’m doing a good job?

It took a while for this to sink in—and even longer for me to stop struggling against it—but by growing our company from five employees to 45, by helping Render Media become one of the fastest-growing media companies in the country, I finally realized I am successful when others are successful; I am doing a good job by empowering others to do a good job. And you can too.

If you can recast your vision for yourself as the coach who achieves a goal when the players win, it will set you apart from others in your organization. It makes you more mature as a manager. It makes you stand out. It is good for your career.

It’s also really good for the person you are mentoring.

But it can be game-changing for the organization. If you work at a company with a tight budget or you work with a startup that needs to grow quickly but doesn’t have a lot of cash, investing in the people you already have working with you, helping them shine and take on more responsibility, coaching them to grow enough to take on new roles as the company grows means you have vision. It shows you can do more with less, gives your company better morale, and makes you look like a total rock star.

I truly believe individuals and organizations can achieve more by lifting others up. And I believe you will demonstrate your own fitness for greater responsibility by helping others reach their potential, by teaching others to lead.

In this series, I will share some practical, hands-on tips for empowering others.

It helps if you have someone in mind.

Think of a colleague or friend who should be a leader. Maybe this is someone you directly supervise, maybe you worked with them on a project, maybe it’s a friend from college who wants to change careers. Go ahead and close your eyes if you want! Picture their face. You got it?

Let’s start with one communication tip you can teach them this week—something that will immediately impact their self-confidence and improve the organization as a whole.

How to Run a Meeting

We all know meetings can suck up our whole day. But done right, meetings can be the perfect vehicle for your potential leader to gain experience and to shine.

If your potential leader can master communication tools like meetings, Google Drive, ticketing systems, email, and chat, they will accomplish more and feel more confident. And you will have raised the tide for the whole organization because everyone’s productivity will go up too.

Leading a meeting is not always intuitive or comfortable for everyone, especially if you’re just starting out.

Think about all the moving parts:

How to schedule a one-time meeting, how to schedule a recurring meeting, who should be there, how to handle scheduling conflicts, how to deal with time-zone differences, how long it should be, where to have it, how to navigate conference-room conflicts, whether to include a conference line, how to set the agenda, how to distribute the agenda, when to arrive, where to sit, what to do when folks don’t show up, how to set up the damn monitor so we can all see the presentation, how to call into the conference line, what to do when it doesn’t work, how to speak loud enough so everyone else can hear, how to lead the meeting, how to take notes, how to distribute notes, how to go over notes during the next meeting so we know if things are getting done (without looking like a jerk).

How did you learn all of this?

Trial and error, I’m guessing. But what if you had learned all of it in just a few months instead of a whole year or even longer? It would have sped up your career, right?

Do this for someone else!

If you teach someone to navigate all of this instead of watching them flail around doing it wrong, you are a good leader. You will make more good leaders.

One way to teach these skills is to be super transparent that you’re teaching: ask a person on your project team to help you schedule the next meeting series, say you’re going to show them some tips and tricks you’ve learned, and tell a good story about how you screwed it up in the past yourself!

If that would be too weird for you, that’s ok. Even if you just model these best practices for others without explicitly teaching them, you are still helping to elevate the whole team.

This person is now light-years ahead of their peers. You’ve set them up for success. This is low-hanging fruit, and you can do it before the end of the week.

Stay tuned for more practical tips for empowering others and growing your organization.

About Render Media

Named the #2 fastest-growing media company in America by Inc. Magazine, Render Media is a digital publisher built for the social age. Agile and data-driven, Render produces socially engaging content for three emerging brands: Cooking Panda, the Internet's most engaged food publication; Opposing Views, our flagship news property; and Teen Times, a leading beauty and style destination for the next generation of trendsetters.

To learn more about our career opportunities, visit us at rndr.com.