Aug 17, 2011
Sitting at the table I look at a member of my leadership team and I say, “It is your call, go ahead and see that it happens.” I thank the group, adjourn the meeting, and we walk away.
I go to my office, lean back in my chair and look at the ceiling. I’m sweating a little bit because I know that I have just relinquished a mission critical objective to a trusted leader.
Wait what? Trusted member, important strategy, proper delegation.., Check, check, check! This should be great. So why am I even the slightest bit hesitant about things? Let me come back to this.
In the world of leadership we implore people to empower their teams. We know the risk of not having engaged, talented, and of course empowered employees.
This drives rhetoric from the experts such as… Without empowerment and communication your employees will never perform at the optimal level and your organization will suffer.
All of this is true.
It is hard to build a bulletproof or even stable business where employees feel like they aren’t empowered. We know this because the science says so and our experiences back it up.
So why do we struggle with it?
For leaders, I suggest that empowerment isn’t always easy. This is primarily because we are sometimes doers and often times perfectionists. We have reached professional heights because we are willing to put in the work and because we have a vision of success.
Sometimes, much of that achievement was founded in doing and not in leading.
As savvy business people, we know that growth will be limited if we are always doing so we decide to grow. We add systems, processes, and most importantly we add people.
People are the heart and soul of any organization. To date, you can’t automate the buying relationship (entirely) and you certainly can’t automate brand advocacy, and that is why people still work for companies.
The inherent problem with people of course is that they are prone to mistakes. If you are a perfectionist, even others doing things right can seem wrong and when it is your business whether for real or intrinsically, that can be tough to swallow.
However, mistakes and adversity are part of growth. And while I struggle with empowerment I also know that real relationships are built in the trenches. Solidified in the darkness, and the fruits are recognized as we exit to the light.
So with this growth in place whether from small to medium, medium to large, or large to mega- corporation, we all have to struggle with empowerment.
What do we do to overcome?
To some extent the little knot in your gut may never completely go away. The textbooks, professors, experts, and speakers will tell you that best way to overcome the struggle of fully trusting, delegating, and empowering employees is to hire well, train well, and build loyalty.
All of which sound easy enough, and they certainly are ideal. However finding these people can be challenging.
Some leaders may just have that inner confidence that the plan will be carried out. For someone like me who seeks things to be done a certain way empowerment is hard, but necessary for scale, for growth, and for success.
Some days I just have to trust myself, the team, and the strategies in place. And no matter how skeptical I may be I walk around with my head up ready to serve those I work with. After all, that is what a leader does.
However I want to ask you, how do you empower? Does it come easy or is it difficult? What are the ways you have overcome your tendency to seek perfection?