Let go and empower your team for better results
Leaders often say their people are their greatest resource.
I know they mean it, and yet so many leaders fall short of engaging and leveraging the full potential, talents, and abilities of their people.
The inevitable result? Disappointing performance, overwhelmed and frustrated leaders, and untapped and frustrated employees.
We need to break out of this cycle, and I think it begins with leaders understanding that our people want to succeed just as much as we want them to succeed.
As leaders we don’t need to provide the motivation; it’s already there, just waiting to be unleashed.
What people need and want is a meaningful mission, the freedom to achieve it in their own best way, and a supportive leader and team to cheer them on, help them trouble-shoot, and get back on track when needed.
It sounds fairly simple, but I know from personal experience it’s not easy.
To lead in this way means loosening our grip on what our people do and how they do it. Not letting go completely but allowing a fair degree of uncertainty into the system.
And losing that control and feeling that uncertainty can be scary for many of us, especially if we are high achievers or feel a strong sense of responsibility (i.e. pretty much every leader ever 😊).
For leaders who want to extend more trust and lead in a more empowering way, the trick then is to find a way to be more comfortable with this loss of control and uncertainty.
Fortunately, there are proven steps we can take.
#1 – work with our employees to define crystal-clear outcomes, a shared understanding of why they’re important, and how the success of their work will be determined.
#2 - if there are any ‘non-negotiable” requirements that we can’t live without, simply ensure they’re included in the final set of shared expectations.
#3 – work with our employees to set an agreed upon review schedule that’s appropriate for the nature of the work, our employees’ experience level, and other factors.
#4 – follow the agreed upon review schedule to provide the encouragement, coaching, feedback, and other support our people need to succeed.
There are several game-changing benefits of this approach.
We’ll gain the comfort and confidence we need to loosen our grip and let our people do their thing.
Our people will gain the clarity, confidence, and support they need to deliver great outcomes.
It’s a win-win formula that helps us both leverage our respective roles, do our best work, and develop even stronger capabilities in the process.