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Definition: Assigning responsibilities and decision-making in a way that makes people responsible for results as well as the methods of achieving those results. Encouraging others to take on new challenges and providing sufficient resources to assist with achieving their goals.  




Remember: Great supervisors allow their employees to do great work and support them in the process. Here are some tips for how to successfully empower others: 

  1. Foster Open Communication  

Allow others to voice thoughts and concerns knowing that their opinions are values   

    2. Reward Self-Improvement  

Help individuals plan for growth and reward them as they grow and develop by providing them with new opportunities to practice learned skills  

    3. Encourage Safe Failure  

Trying new things often means failure, and failure is one of the best ways to learn; providing an environment where people feel safe making mistakes ensures individuals gain understanding and skill 

    4. Provide Plenty of Context  

We all carry around a great deal of information in our brain, however we often fail to realize that others don’t have access to that same knowledge. Providing context around the purpose, direction and need for any given task will enable individuals to handle similar situations in the future. 

    5. Clearly Define roles 

People who don't know what they are supposed to do can't do it very well. Establishing specific roles and responsibilities enables individuals to work together effectively 

    6. Require Accountability 

Individuals need to know if they are meeting expectations. Be consistent and diligent in your measurement of rewards so that employees are motivated to do their best 

    7. Support Their Independence  

Don’t micro-manage. Give employees the space to complete tasks and learn on their own. It’s hard to see mistakes being made, but allowing employees the room to make them enables them to learn and grow. 

    8. Appreciate Their Efforts 

An empowered individual works for more than just a paycheck. Appreciate the contributions of individuals and value their participation. Celebrate good work.  


Self-Directed Learning Activities 


Relevant Readings:



  • Blanchard, K. H., Carlos, J. P., & Randolph, W. A. (1999). The 3 keys to empowerment: Release the power within people for astonishing results. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. 

  • Ginnodo, B. (1997). The power of empowerment. Arlington Heights, IL: Pride Publications, Inc.

  • McBee, S. (2003). To lead is to empower: Leadership to empower your employees and yourself. 




Guided Learning Activities 


Experiences (use one of the three learning journals to track your experiences): 

  • Volunteer for a leadership role on a project at work and follow the tips above to empower your team; discuss your experience with a trusted coach or mentor 

  • Think outside of your work-life, do you lead others on a sports team, through projects at home, with your children? Apply what you’ve learned about empowerment in those situations and reflect on how they are share similarities with situations your experience at work.  

  • Identify a superior who you think empowers others, schedule a time to talk with them about their management techniques, consider asking: 

  • What do they think are the the rules of thumb they are following? 

  • Where did they learn the behaviors? 

  • How do they monitor the effect they have on others?


Formal Training/Education 


School and Course Module:

  • Laramie County Community College: MGT 1000 INTRODUCTION TO SUPERVISION 

    • Students acquire techniques to improve or establish themselves as first-line supervisors. The student will understand and be able to apply basic management principles in solving problems encountered by first-line supervisors. Prerequisite: Completion of ENGL 0810 or equivalent placement test score. 

  • Northwest College: MGT 1000 - Introduction to Supervision 

    • Students acquire knowledge and skills used in supervision, organization, time management, decision-making, and information management. Students work with practical applications that reinforce the theory. Through comprehensive cases and illustrations, students examine the interrelationship of key supervisory management principles. (3 hrs lec) 

  • Eastern Wyoming Community College:  MGT 1000 Introduction to Supervision 

    • This course seeks to develop an understanding and appreciation of the basic concepts of supervision, to include planning, organizing, human resources management, directing, and controlling. Topics covered also include motivation, delegation, leadership, communications, team-building, total quality management, and discipline. The course should assist one to acquire the skills necessary.


Definition:  Cooperating and working effectively with others in the pursuit of common goals. 



6 Tips for Building a Collaborative Team 

  1. Have a Common Purpose and Goal: Create and/or review the team's mission and purpose. Discuss why the team exists. Allow each team member to express commitment.

  2. Trust Each Other: Be honest. Work to eliminate conflicts of interests. Avoid talking behind each other's back. 

  3. Clarify Roles:  Relate team member expectations to the team's overall purpose. Clarify responsibilities when action planning. Learn what others do on the team. Figure out ways to help each other. 

  4. Communicate Openly and Effectively:  Seek to understand all angles. Take responsibility for being heard and understood. Work to clear up misunderstandings quickly and accurately. Reinforce and recognize team member efforts. 

  5. Appreciate Diversity: Remember that reasonable people can and do differ with each other. Try to learn as much as you can from others. Evaluate a new idea based on its merits. 

  6. Balance the Teams Focus: Hold team celebrations for achieving results. Praise individual effort. Design individual performance goals that emphasize both results and teamwork. 


Adapted from 


Self-Directed Learning Activities 

Relevant Readings:



  • Bushe, G. (2011). Clear leadership: Sustaining real collaboration and partnership at work. Nicholas Brealey Publishing. 

  • Cain, J., & Jolliff, B. (1998). Teamwork & Teamplay: A Guide to Cooperative, Challenge and Adventure Activities That Build Confidence, Cooperation, Teamwork, Creativity, Trust, Decision Making, Conflict Resolution, Resource Management, Communication, Effective Feedback and Problem Solving Skills.  Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque. 

  • Frisch, B, (2011). Harvard business review on building better teams. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation. 

  • Maxwell, J. C. (2013). The 17 indisputable laws of teamwork: Embrace them and empower your team. Thomas Nelson Inc. (PDF) 

  • Parker, G. M. (2008). Team players and teamwork: New strategies for developing successful collaboration. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons. (PDF) 

  •  Katzenbach, J. R., & Smith, D. K. (2005). The discipline of teams. Harvard Business Review, 83(7), 162. 




Self-Guided Activities:

  • Spontaneously offer to help someone, even if you are busy. Pay extra attention to assisting new team members.  

  • Help other team members improve their understanding and collaboration with one another. Share information about work being done and processes and procedures that need to be followed.  

  • To promote teamwork among groups, try to discourage “us versus them” thinking. Keep an eye out for “us versus them” thinking and discussions. Check yourself and caution others when they talk in those terms. Remind them of the larger organizational objectives. 


Guided Learning Activities 



  • Learn about your collaboration skills. Gather feedback from others on your collaboration styles and tactics, and periodically evaluate your performance based on the feedback. Formulate developmental plans with your supervisor based on the feedback you receive. 

  • Suggest mini-retreats for your team. These can be as long as an entire weekend, or a short as a trip to lunch. These can help build team spirit and commitment and enable all team members to get to know one another personally.  

  • Work with your supervisor to identify an opportunity for you to lead a team within your department. Follow the steps outlined above to build collaboration among the team members and document your experiences in a learning journal. Set up touch base meetings with supervisor to discuss your team’s progress.  

  • If possible, try to talk to each of your team members about their goals and responsibilities. Shadow them and ask them if they need help if you have time. This will allow you to observe and understand how each team member contributes to the goals of the team. 


Formal Training/Education 

School and Course Module(s):

  • Northwest College:  

    • CO/M 2015 - Leadership Skills: This course is designed to educate specified groups in effective leadership skills. Includes discussion and practice in teamwork, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, planning, conflict management, and social responsibility. 

  • Eastern Wyoming College: MGT 1000 Introduction to Supervision  

    • This course seeks to develop an understanding and appreciation of the basic concepts of supervision, to include planning, organizing, human resources management, directing, and controlling. Topics covered also include motivation, delegation, leadership, communications, team-building, total quality management, and discipline. 


Other Trainings:

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