When we empower someone, we “give them a piece of our power.”
The person has decision-making authority in some area we designate.
Empowering your people makes them more competent, experienced, and confident professionals. They feel our trust and respect. They learn to fix problems before they become crises. They take care of things in their area of empowerment and free up our time for the things only we can do.
When we empower our people, we need to set them up for success and give them a safety net. Explicitly state “If you have problem X or something else that is time-critical, please come talk to me ASAP. My door is open.” Set regular check-ins or status updates, like a weekly meeting, so that you still know how the project is going and they have a time to talk brainstorm or troubleshoot the next steps and non-time-critical issues. Also use these check-ins to have them walk you through completed work—you stay in-the-loop and make sure things are correct and complete, and it gives you a regular chance to give them positive feedback.
As each person grows their experience, they are preparing to “take point” on larger tasks or projects. You develop a “deep bench” of competent professionals who can handle things in day-to-day operations. And that frees up more of your time for the things that only you can do.
(Photo by Murat Onder on Unsplash)
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