• Tony Richards

How To Be An Empowering Leader

There is a growing trend in the workplace for autonomy.

Have you ever experienced this? Perhaps you have as a child or maybe as a parent. You are being guided in a role as a child or you are trying to guide as a parent. Maybe it’s learning to ride a bicycle or preparing a science project. All of sudden, they stop, look at you and say “Let me do it”!

Leaders must learn this in the workplace as well. As much as we want to help, we also need to learn when to get out of the way and let them do it. Employees today want training and development and at the same time, they also want the chance to succeed and show us they can do it from a place of autonomy. In our quest to be growing leaders, it is our job to empower people to become experts and achieve results.

Back off the micromanaging! Do less supervising and more leading.

It’s been my observation that when a group of people receives the same information, they will more than likely reach the same conclusion. The problem is, in most cases, everyone doesn’t receive the same information. All miscommunication comes from varying assumptions. People have varying assumptions because all information is not available to everyone. Rather than spending our time being heavy handed on managing people, we should be improving communication processes and systems so everyone gets the same information and can come to the same conclusions.

People need to be challenged. One of the basic human needs is significance. In leadership, you should become proficient in choosing who to put where doing what by when. Always place your best people on your biggest opportunities and allow them to go to work on turning the opportunity into results. Paint a vivid picture of the future you see and how it can be better, urge them on to greater things, then get out of the way and allow them to generate some momentum. This is the premium demonstration of respect. Remember, those who show respect, get respected. Always make sure you tell and demonstrate what they are doing is important to fulfill the vision of the organization.

Here is a good process for empowerment:

  1. Decide who should be doing what by when, put your best people on your biggest opportunities

  2. Provide guidance with the most extreme clarity possible

  3. Allow for a generous amount of perspective and input on how they “see it” progressing

  4. Give them a chance to ask questions and gain clarity from you

  5. Talk straight, demonstrate respect and inject a lot of confidence

  6. Be accessible, but out of the way, always within reach if needed, but let the confidence grow

  7. Push long term vision, not daily or weekly panic

  8. Have benchmark status meetings to review progress and allow them to impress you

  9. Give honest feedback and praise generously

  10. Repeat and reward

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