How I give ownership to my team

Have you ever wondered why a member of your team hasn’t done something you wanted, or perhaps they have, but you get the feeling that it’s been done with the least effort required to get the job done? I’m sure we’ve all been there. What I want to talk to you about today is how you can create an environment where people want to work for you and want take pride in their work. Its the ONLY way you can grow your business.

Over at Optix Solutions everyone we employ is awesome at their jobs. These are people who have studied the internet industry for many years (in some cases since it pretty much began). We have a group of guys and girls that are proud and passionate about what they do and how they can help their clients. These are people who don’t want to be told what to do, day in day out, with no input of their own. These are people who have a voice and a damn good one too. These are people who want to ‘own’ their work. And there lies the clue…


There is a huge difference between giving someone a task or project and asking them to tell you when it’s done and giving someone ownership or responsibility for that task or project. I’ve found this out the hard way over many years. Here’s the difference:

Straight forward delegation of task:
I’ll ask one of my team to complete a task/project and tell them I need it finished by X date. They’ll take it on, complete it and deliver it back again by that date. This is fine and gets the job done but it’s not half as good as….

Giving ownership:
I will delegate in exactly the same way but I might use slightly different wording along the lines of, ‘I’d really like you to own this project, you’ve got the authority to make decisions on how it’s done (within boundaries of course) and the responsibility of delivering on X date lies with you’

You see the difference? The impact of this is huge. Why? Because everyone wants to feel wanted, like they have a purpose and ownership of something, like they come to work for a reason. They will take pride in what they do, they will ‘own’ it. What you’ll get back from your team if you start with this approach will exceed your expectations and people will fly.

I was putting together a blog post for the Optix blog recently about the team we have there and I asked everyone what they liked about working for the company. Here are a few choice comments I had back:

Nick – “Flexibility/freedom to use my initiative and be creative”

Kris – “we are all genuinely challenged to be the best we can be, and our Directors actively encourage us to be a part of the company”

Kris – “You’re not just allowed to have your say, you’re listened to. If something doesn’t work or could be done better for a client, you have the power to change it. When we do well we are rewarded and when we make mistakes we’re encouraged to learn from them”

Charlie – “You are encouraged to learn and grow outside of your specific role – this creates real job satisfaction”

Dan – “My input is taken on board and I am my own man”

Dan – “When working in other organisations it has been all too easy to blend into the background and not be a leader. Here at Optix I am encouraged to take control of my own destiny and make things happen. With that comes responsibility, but without great responsibility you cannot have great power! Even Spiderman knows that”

Rich – “We throw  a wicked xmas party!”

Ok, so maybe the last one has little to do with ownership but hey its true! 🙂

We understand at Optix that the company can only be successful if we have a team of people who are proud of who they work for, love coming to work and have ownership of the work they do.

How can you foster this environment with your team?

Now Your Thoughts

  • Do you give ownership to your staff? What has this brought you?
  • Do you have any further thoughts on how to get more from your team beyond this?



  1. Sean Humby on 23rd April 2012 at 8:25 am

    Great article and made me think about a book that I used to refer to a lot when I managed a team. First break all the rules – Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. Specifically the q12 – 12 questions that can be asked to any one in the team all related to productivity, profitability, retention, or customer satisfaction. The questions that can certainly enhance the whole delegation process are
    Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right? Delegation as Alastair says needs to be within boundaries and I would add having the tools to do the job. When we asked this question to a team of receptionist in a busy health club who had the latest in terms of IT, phones, PA, radios, superlative training and who lived the values – the answer we received was -‘there are never enough pens on reception!@ How easy was that to remedy!
    At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day? I think that this question speaks volumes for the way in which a business is run and can be successful – as mentioned in Alastairs blog – the team has years of experience, knowledge and a voice – so let them utilise this!
    In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work? Surely the completion of the delegation circle! The final question “This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?” with an environment that answers yes to the previous questions will be a yes too!

    • Banksy on 23rd April 2012 at 9:28 am

      Love this comment Sean – thank you. I especially like the bit about the pens. I’m sure that all of us can overlook things like that all too easily. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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