Good leaders know that when they have been placed in a position of influence over direct reports it is incumbent upon them to develop their own skills, not just the skills of their team. If you want to be the best leader you can be for your company, you cannot rely entirely on the skills that got you there; you need to always be looking for ways to improve, so that the organization and your employees can improve along with you.
One key opportunity to make yourself a better leader is through the empowerment of your team. Giving your employees the appropriate amount of autonomy, helping them learn when they succeed, and more importantly, when they do not, helps you grow into the best leader you can be.
Delegating to Sharpen Employees’ Skills
Delegation with well-defined expectations is a key method for helping employees grow. It can also deepen the effectiveness of your leadership — building trust by spelling out the ends, then letting employees figure out the means. You will need to ensure the goals are attainable given the employee’s skills and workload, but inside those parameters, you can set broad boundaries for the employee. Delegation need not even be limited to action items; some employees benefit from running meetings or visiting clients in your stead.
This is also a chance to demonstrate the greater meaning of employees’ work by connecting their tasks with the end goal of the project and the overall strategic initiatives of the organization. Surveys consistently show that employees value meaningful work, and the more they know about how their work affects the organization’s progress, the more likely they are to put their all into it.
Let Your Team Members Drive the Process
You might have a system for getting things done that has always worked for you, but not everyone can succeed using the same methods. Instead of pushing employees to use a defined process, you will be better off letting them figure out how to approach the work (while always making yourself available to contribute, of course). You can maintain the basic structure while letting your team fill in the middle. No matter how much aptitude you have for leadership, it can be tempting to assume your way is always the best, or to feel like the smartest person in the room — but both of these approaches will work against you.
Clear Communications to Keep Things Moving
If you give an employee or team the autonomy to work on a task their way, it is incumbent upon you to give meaningful feedback after it is done. If they fell short in any areas, outline those areas and work with them to figure out how to do better in the future. And if they succeeded beyond your wildest dreams, make sure to let them know about it! Do not skimp on detail, either. One employee might already know what they did and why it worked, but they need to hear it from you — and other employees can learn from hearing the particulars. Once they see examples of how risk-taking can lead to personal growth, they will be more likely to take the same approach.
Providing the Resources they Need to Succeed
Of course, while you might work to stay out of employees’ way once they have set their path, you will want to ensure they have all the resources they need. Ask what they need and listen to the answers. You may discover solutions you would have never thought of before.
Giving the necessary resources goes beyond individual tasks. You can foster greater trust and ambition among your team members by providing well-defined paths for growth and advancement — and making sure they can take advantage of those opportunities, which might mean giving them time for professional development and paying the cost of it.
Positive Impact on Your Leadership Ability
Giving employees meaningful work and letting them figure it out on their own helps you create a positive work environment — one that’s conducive to personal growth, higher job satisfaction and employee retention. You will be a more effective leader if you can demonstrate to employees that you are listening to their concerns and ideas, and that you care about their input. On top of that, you will be imparting to them leadership skills of their own, helping to develop a second layer of leadership for situations in which you are not able to contribute personally. If there is an unexpected crisis while you are on vacation or out sick, you will be much more at ease if you trust your team to handle it.
An Employee-Driven Tool to Increase Accountability & Buy-in
Delegation is made simpler with BPM Link. Our leadership software is an innovative HR tool designed for building accountability and getting employees engaged in the day-to-day activities and overarching mission of the organization they work for. BPM Link puts employees in the driver’s seat, letting them develop their own processes while providing them all the information they need to match up their individual goals with those of the organization. It also makes communications seamless among all levels of leadership to keep everyone on the same page.
To make BPM Link part of your workplace processes, reach out to us now for more information on how to make it happen. We are happy to schedule a demo so you can see firsthand the kind of meaningful change BPM Link can effect at your organization.