As a leader, you can’t possibly know all, see all and be everywhere. That means your success depends on the ability of those you lead to carry out your vision and ensure you deliver on your promises to others.
For many of us, letting go of certain duties or decisions is scary. After all, it’s human nature to want to establish a sense of control. Brendan Burchard, a leading leadership thinker and professional development expert, goes so far as to suggest that control is a basic human drive. We can’t ignore it and it certainly isn’t wrong to want to feel in control.
That’s why to be effective – and to ensure peace of mind – leaders should put in processes and protocols to ensure you’re still connected to what’s happening and what is important for you to know. And then let go.
Balancing control with designating responsibility
It’s a careful balancing act to ensure you maintain a level of control, while designating responsibility to others so they can learn to be leaders. You must accept that while you can guide, direct and manage people, you can never fully control the actions and behavior of others.
That’s why the ultimate sign of effective leadership is that others are taking the lead and being effective without you.
One important strategy for empowering leadership in others involves exchanging control for confidence. Consider that instead of trying to control what people do (or don’t do), focus instead on increasing your confidence in their ability to choose their words and actions well when you aren’t around.
Shifting focus to how they think
The key to this is to stop focusing on controlling tasks, and shift your attention to nurturing how they think.
always be those moments when someone else will have to take action or make a
decision without you. It is the thinking
they apply in those moments that will determine the actions they choose to take
and ultimately the outcome.
So the next time you feel compelled to give someone “the” answer to their question or problem, or feel the urge to cut to the chase and tell them what to do, stop!
Instead, take the time to ask what their answer is or what they think they should do, and why. Keep in mind that most important element of their answer is the “why,” because it’s your direct access to their thinking.
Cultivate your employees’ thinking well and, while you may not have control, you will have confidence in their leadership when you aren’t around.
What additional strategies can you offer for empowering leadership in others?