3 Things Which Kill Empowerment That Every Leader Should Know

Empowered teams should be the goal of every leader. When you have empowered teams, they almost become self-sufficient, self-leading and help to create a culture of continuous improvement which will achieve amazing results.

Empowering teams should be easy, but it’s often sabotaged by the manager who makes these three simple mistakes.

Micromanagement

When we delegate work with a view to empowering our teams we need to give them the freedom to get on with it and to do it the way that they see fit. We need to let them know that if they have any problems they could come and ask for help but other than that we trust them to complete the task successfully.

Too many managers want to micromanage; they delegate and empower teams but are reluctant to give up control. Constantly checking on teams and giving input into how the work should be done.

When we do this we take ownership for the outcome out of the hands of our teams, we actually disempower them and often frustrate and demotivate them.

Blame Culture

Nothing kills empowerment faster than a blame culture. You cannot allow people the freedom to do things in the way they see fit and then criticize them when things go wrong. We need to be supportive; we need to be tolerant of mistakes as they are part of the growth cycle. That doesn’t mean we should be blind to poor performance, but mistakes happen, especially if we are taking on difficult tasks.

If we are too critical of our teams, don’t be surprised if all decisions get deferred back to you.

I once worked for a boss who would criticize even the smallest mistake and then bemoan the fact that no one ever volunteered or took ownership of even the smallest of tasks. He was completely oblivious that he had created the situation he didn’t like, but when blame is used people don’t want to be empowered and don’t look to take ownership as it’s not career enhancing.

Credit Hoarding

When our teams take ownership and are successful, we need to give them the full credit for any success that is achieved. We will also receive plaudits for having empowered them, and others will want to come and work with and for us. But when we look to take all the credit for the class, when we claim it was our idea and don’t look to share the applause our teams will quickly look to stop to take on such tasks. It’s not quite as bad as having a blame culture, but it is just as detrimental to empowerment.

To build a culture of empowerment we need to give our teams freedom, be tolerant and supportive when mistakes are made and to share credit and praise them for their successes.

 

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