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5 ways to create an ownership mentality on your team

Resist the urge to do everything yourself. Here is some advice on empowering your team.

4 min read



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When you’re on a tight timeline or working on a critical issue, it can be tempting to grab hold of the problem yourself and work it until you’ve found the solution by yourself.

Maybe you’re trying to save time or just trying not to waste the time of others. Giving in to the temptation to go it alone, however, will not build a high-performing team capable of overcoming any challenge. If you want to foster an ownership mentality and create a team of individuals who are truly invested in success, read on for the five best ways to achieve your goals.

1, Stop doing it all

Even if you think you have all the answers, if you want to create a sense of accountability in your team, you have to give team members something to be accountable for. This means that you’re going to have to delegate. If you’re worried about the quality of the outcome, ask for regular check-ins one-on-one, so you can monitor progress and offer guidance and training.

Start with smaller aspects of what you’re working on, and expand from there with the members who deliver timely, quality work. While you’re coaching them to have a sense of ownership, you’ll be coaching yourself to delegate and let go a little on the day-to-day details.

2. Connect with contributors

Just as you would solicit feedback and ideas from your superiors in your organization, be sure to gather ideas from the people regularly sitting around your table. Make it clear to them that you need and value their help. When people contribute, be sure to acknowledge their contributions, both in the moment and later, when describing the group’s accomplishments to others.

If Sam and Dana were instrumental in coming up with the winning strategy, and the whole team helped fine-tune it, be sure to say so. Not only will you connect with your team and make them feel a sense of ownership, you will also build your own reputation as a positive leader.

3. Reward the sharing of ideas

As a leader, it may seem like every idea has to come from you, but that’s not the case. The best leaders create a culture where it is OK to share ideas — all ideas. Build a relationship with your team where they are rewarded for speaking up and contributing.

For the best ideas to come to the surface, a team has to feel safe to think out loud, to brainstorm and to examine suggestions objectively with you, or as a group. The best environment allows everyone to share and have ideas accepted or rejected without personal judgement. People will fill a much stronger sense of ownership when they feel they have a hand in creating solutions.

4. Allow them to “run with it”

When someone comes up with a great idea, whenever possible, allow them to be pivotal in making it happen. Great leaders don’t have to be the one executing — use your skills and experience to provide guidance and oversight, and to help others achieve success. You can even consider management consulting to up the team’s game. The end results will reflect positively on both of you.

5. Share the recognition

Be generous with praise: Give credit to the members of your team whenever it is due. Be sure to mention accomplishments both within your own group and to those senior to you. People feel a stronger sense of ownership — and a stronger desire to engage and take ownership again — when their efforts lead to acknowledgement. Employees rally around leaders who allow them to learn through doing and raise them up when they’ve done well.

Recognizing good people and work will make you look good, too.

Do you have ideas on how to create a sense of ownership within an organization? Have you had success in engaging employees in your work? Could your skills in fostering ownership use some coaching?


Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 executive coaches in America. Global Gurus named Joel #14 on its list of top 30 global coaching experts. He has 19 years of first-hand experience working closely with many of the world’s leading companies, including Oracle, Google, Amazon, Deloitte, The Ritz-Carlton, Gap and Starbucks. He has written seven books, including “Getting Ahead.” More than 10,000 people subscribe to his FulfillmentATWork newsletter. Subscribe and you’ll receive the free e-book “41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!” If you are looking for practical advice for advancing up the executive career ladder, view his Career Advancement Blog.

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