Developing Ownership

Business Ownership is a looked upon personality trait for leaders, team builders and those who are managing people. Taking ownership about things is a human trait. But taking ownership of situations, circumstances and people doesn’t comes easy. A number of business managers complaint about the lack of ownership among the team members. Developing ownership amongst employees is the challenge a number of leaders come across.

I was finishing up a TNA – Training Need Analysis at a Company in BFSI industry and somewhere during the process – felt that all a company lacks these days is the – Employees with ownership & belongingness as a trait. This post is been due since three weeks and the idea was to share and ponder with you my readers – on what companies can do to develop ownership among it employees?

Following are few tips I could streamline, please feel free to share your take and ideas on the same:

1. Delegate Smartly:

Usually employees don’t take decisions or take ownership as they are afraid of taking a decision which will not be supported by the management. This problem can be solved by delegating effectively. You need to clearly communicate the responsibility of decision making as well as responsibility of the results. When you assign any responsibility to someone you also need to give him freedom to make necessary (at least routine) decisions required to executive the assignment. For any strategic decisions regarding the project you need to take your employees in confidence. Delegation requires a lot of will, time and energy to communicate your expectations but once done properly it helps developing ownership.

2. Have a Plan:

Align your team with the vision of the company and help them understand where do they fit in the picture. Once people have understanding of the key objectives, the ownership comes in automatically. As a leader you also need to ensure your team is engaged properly with the broader goals and if you help them succeed and grow, you may be surprised to see what they achieve.

3. Let Employees Speak Out:

Employees feel more empowered when they are allowed to speak and contribute ideas and solutions to the problems. Their voice will define the value they bring to the organization.

4. Allow for Mistakes:

As a project manager one may have to make a number of decisions in a day and there are many project managers who keep on delaying decisions as they are afraid of taking a wrong decision which may hamper their growth in the company. Allowing people to make mistakes plays a very important part in building a sense of ownership. Mistakes help people learn new lessons and broaden their horizon.

5. Create United Sense of Purpose:

When you collaborate on goals and decisions with your employees and connect them to the bigger picture, they develop a united sense of purpose and they tend to be more participative and look beyond their role. The united sense of purpose that employee ownership delivers helps attract and retain the best talent.

6. Build in Daily Reminders of Your Mission:

For the first time when I visited Shoppers Stop to conduct a training program, I encountered an amazing but incredibly simple way of reminding all its employees of its mission. At 10:45 am all the Shoppers Stop employees across all the stores PAN India, including their corporate office staff at Mumbai, will stand up and everyone will sing their anthem. Shoppers Stop anthem has a wonderful lyrics and reminds their company mission to their employees. I found it as a very powerful daily reminder of the company mission. Due to such inbuilt daily reminder no doubts Shoppers Stop is amongst most admired retail brands in India.

7. Reward Employees:

Who Go Beyond the Norms: Nothing can quell desire to give extra than not feeling recognized. Rewarding employees who go beyond the norms helps in developing ownership amongst employees. I remember a store manager of a retail store in Mumbai opening the store very late in the night to help a customer. The customer was to get engaged the next morning but had lost her luggage in the flight. Though opening a retail store in the absence of the security staff posed a big risk but to help his customer the store manager went beyond the norms. And he was recognized for going beyond the norms and helping the customer by his company. Nothing motivates an employee more than recognizing his contribution to the company goals.


These are the 7 tips which I could think of as a practice for developing ownership among the employees. I am sure these are helpful not only for big corporates but also for SMEs, which mostly work on resource restrictions. The above pointers are also some of the reasons why some of the startups have excelled quickly.