How do you let go and gain more control?
Running and managing a business or a department is tough. You have a vested interest in it, spent time nurturing it, and probably had a few sleepless nights about it along the way. Understandably you feel like it’s your baby and you know what’s best for it.
There will be times where you think, ‘I’ll just do it myself’. Perhaps you’ve done the process 100 times before and are capable of now doing it in your sleep, so it’s quicker than training someone new. You might feel that no-one could perform the task as well as you. Or maybe it’s compliance-related and you’re terrified of the consequences if you don’t complete/file the paperwork correctly.
But you’re not Superman, you can’t do everything. You may feel that as a manager you need to be involved in every process to retain control, but that just leads to feelings of being stressed or overwhelmed by the mountain of work in front of you. You are only one person, and regardless of how hard you work, there’s only 24 hours in a day and a finite number of things you can get done (plus you want/need to sleep at some point!). That means you need to delegate.
But delegating is tough
Delegation and trust go hand-in-hand. If you don’t trust that your team has the capabilities to perform a task, or complete it to the same standard you would, you’re never going to feel comfortable delegating. You have to accept the inherent risk of your team’s performance and trust that they will get the job done. Research shows that organisations where employees have high trust in their leaders are 2.5 times more likely to be leaders in revenue growth, and significantly outperform others in achieving key business goals, such as increasing customer loyalty and retention.
However, delegating isn’t about offloading certain tasks and then putting rigid processes in place to ensure they’re done your way. No-one likes being micromanaged, and if you force people to do things your way, it’s going to demotivate them because they’ll feel controlled. Furthermore, you’re going to be trapped in a sea of reports, checking that everything’s been done the way you wanted – how exactly is that relieving your administrative burden?
Empowerment allows your staff to improve
You want the best team, and this involves developing their capabilities and teaching them new skills. By empowering your team to complete certain tasks, it may force them to seek out help to learn new things if they don’t know how to do something now. This continuous staff improvement makes your team more versatile and therefore valuable to your organisation, while meeting their inherent need to want to better themselves and have a job that is interesting, challenging and enjoyable.
Empowerment drives operational efficiency
It simply doesn’t make sense to have a workforce where some of your people are swamped with work while the others sit twiddling their thumbs. An effective organisation is a well-oiled machine where everyone is working on an equal workload, and you personally, are getting far more done. Delegating responsibilities is a great way to strike the balance. Why not empower people to be responsible for processes that typically have nothing to do with them? It will force them to collaborate with others to determine what the process looks like and then delegate specific tasks to them.
Empowerment gives you that competitive edge
If your employees lack the power to act, you’re never going to have the business agility necessary to capture new opportunities. Empower your people to do more and they’ll be able to do more of the tactical things, freeing you up to focus on the strategy and allowing you to achieve more.