Empowering Your Employees

If you are a business owner or in a management position, chances are at some point in your work life you’ve thought to yourself “If I want something done right, I have to do it myself!” Ever think that? Be honest. I hate to admit it too, but I know I’ve had that thought cross my mind more than once in my career.

You usually get to the position of owner or manager by being really good at what you do. But once you get to that level, are you automatically also good at leading others? Not necessarily.

Sure, there are some people who seem to be natural born leaders. But for the rest of us, leadership skills are something that can be learned and developed.

One of the first steps in becoming a better leader is to get over yourself. Allowing your ego to go unchecked is one of the biggest mistakes a leader can make. Yes, you may be very, very good at what you do, but if you have a team reporting to you, yet you aren’t entrusting them to actually handle parts of the business, how is that effective or efficient? It isn’t. You’re stuck doing it all. You’re overworked, stressed and frustrated.

Imagine the amount of time and energy you spend each day, week, month or year resolving issues that could have been avoided by allowing your team to simply do the right thing?

Instead of working yourself to death, try giving your people permission to perform. Empower your team to make certain decisions without having to check with you first. It’s amazingly effective. A best practice is to put some guidelines in place. Maybe a guideline involves a maximum dollar amount they have authorization to spend fixing a problem. You review their decisions weekly, then maybe monthly. You’ve just eliminated a major information and decision bottleneck – you!

Giving your team a feeling of responsibility and that you trust them creates a positive culture that builds loyalty. It allows them to perform rather than restricting their performance through rules, regulations and limitations.

That feeling of loyalty will extend beyond your team and will positively impact your customers too. When your team members who interact with customers feel empowered and trusted, they are more likely to treat the customers the way they would want to be treated.

Everyone wants to work in an environment in which they feel appreciated and respected. In many communities, where the workforce is limited and everywhere you turn you see signs for “Help Wanted”, building a culture of positivity and trust goes a very long way in attracting and retaining the best talent.

The biggest barrier to empowering your people is yourself. It can be difficult to increase the authority of others, but don’t let that get in your way of leading. Leadership is not the same as management. Increasing the authority of others does not diminish yours. Give empowerment a try.

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