True leadership is evidenced when employees are engaged with the vision and mission of the organization. The opposite is true when the leader has to micromanage everyone. That’s a sign of an unhealthy work environment.
Here are four ways a leader can empower their employees and build strong teams around them.
Insecurity is the Enemy
One of the biggest reasons many leaders never delegate or empower employees is because they are insecure. Some are afraid that one of their employees will outshine them. Others are afraid their employees won’t do the job correctly.
A secure leader won’t mind if someone they lead ends up exceeding them. They’ll take that as a sign of their leadership, not the other way around.
For those who micromanage because he doesn’t trust his employees to do the job well, they either hired wrong or trained wrong. Both are the leader’s responsibility and should be addressed.
That being said, even as a leader empowers and delegates authority to others on their team, they should never relinquish the ultimate responsibilities of the team and their outcomes.
Jocko Willink wrote a book called
Extreme Ownership where he recalls his leadership experiences as a Navy SEAL officer. He recounts a major failure his team suffered and how he learned how to take ownership of his team as the leader, regardless of who actually messed up.
Former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan once said, “you can delegate authority, but you cannot delegate responsibility.” Building strong teams still means the leader takes full responsibility and extreme ownership of the organization.
Carol Dweck once spoke at the TED conference about “The Power of Believing That You Can Improve.” It talked about re-framing failure as opportunities to improve instead of a statement about one’s abilities or character.
A leader who empowers employees well will expect failure, especially in the beginning. Nobody excels right out of the gate. Most people have a learning curve, and a strong leader will build that into his processes for building his team.
This can be truly difficult for a strong type-A leader, but building consensus is one of the best ways to empower a team. When people are allowed into the decision-making process and are invited to give their input, they become way more engaged in executing on those decisions.
These are just a few ways that strong leaders empower their employees and ultimately build strong teams around them to accomplish their mission.