It would be difficult to find a manager who said that they didn’t want to empower their employees. That said, it would be just as difficult to find one that actually does.
Managers face a day to day struggle of wanting to delegate work to their employees while being ultimately responsible for the results. If a manager has difficulty letting go, or their employees have difficulty taking on the challenge, the result is often a situation that disempowers the employee.
So how do you fix it?
Well that’s the $65,000 consultant fee question, isn’t it?
Here are some ideas:
1) If you delegate a project, be involved early and often when it comes to helping the employee understand requirements. Coach, rather than direct. Let the employee develop the plan, and once you sign off on it support it as much as possible.
2) Don’t surprise people with last minute meetings, or meetings with no plan or agenda. If you want empowered employees, they need to know what they are walking into so they can do some prep work and have answers to the questions you ask.
3) Provide people with time to plan their work. Easier said than done, I know, but when projects or tasks are dropped on employees at the last minute, they end up rushing and/or depending on you for guidance. If at all possible, provide time for them to bring their best to the table. Otherwise, you run the risk of the work falling back on you.
4) Do weekly check-ins. Ask how your employees are doing, and how you can help. Clear the path. It all sounds so easy, doesn’t it? But most managers neglect this because they are busy being busy. The result? Employees that don’t know when or how to step up, and a manager that ends up doing all the work.
5) Roll up your sleeves with purpose. Good managers aren’t afraid to work that register, teach that class, plan that event, or any other work their employees are doing. The key here, however, is only doing so in a way that supports them (rather than takes the work from them). Demonstrate that you are there to help as needed, or perhaps even at your employee’s request, but don’t do the work in such a way that keeps your people from growing.
There you have it! Five ideas for empowering your employees.
Time to get to work!