Learning & Development

Encouraging Ownership

One of the buzzwords in many leadership and management circles is “ownership.” Companies want their employees to take ownership of their assignments, projects, teams, responsibilities, corporate goals, etc. When companies say this, they mean they want employees to be accountable and take initiative, and they want them to be personally invested.

That all sounds great, but how does one instill ownership in employees? In this post, we discuss a few simple strategies.


Identify Ownership as a Core Value

Companies shouldn’t take it for granted that their employees know what ownership means and how important it is to the organization. For example, a previous manager at a different organization may have micromanaged and discouraged individual initiative. Assuming ownership is a core value, companies need to let employees know that and establish it as a key factor of employee performance and company culture.


Companies should strive to be transparent with employees about the work they’re doing and why it’s important. It’s hard for employees to feel a sense of ownership over their work if they’re left in the dark about the broader business objective. Employees who can see how their work ties into the company’s broader success are more apt to take ownership of their tasks.


Of course, managers want accountability from their employees, but many fail to impose accountability, letting transgressions escape scrutiny and shrugging off performance that falls short of expectations. Managers should hold their staff accountable to their performance. If managers don’t seem to care about performance, employees will soon wonder why or whether they should.

Part of that accountability is regular feedback from managers. If employees aren’t living up to expectations around ownership, managers need to let them know.

Leading by Example

Leading by example may sound cliché, but it works, especially when it comes to ownership. It’s crucial for managers and executive leadership to demonstrate ownership in their own work. This not only provides an example to follow but also demonstrates to the organization that those who exhibit true ownership are valued and can and do advance through the organizational hierarchy. Ownership has been a hot topic in business and management circles in recent years, but not every company instills that value into its employees. Here, we’ve highlighted a few key strategies any manager can use to encourage a greater level of ownership among his or her team

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