You can “empower” an employee to carry out a task, but whose fault is it if he or she fails? Managers and employees share equal responsibility for making empowerment successful. Here’s what each of you has to do:
- Show your interest. If you feel ready to take on more responsibility, discuss available opportunities with your boss. You’ll be able to clarify what kinds of decisions you can be empowered to make and when you should seek advice from your manager.
- Suggest a trial. Convince your leader of your abilities by offering to handle one or two responsibilities on a trial basis. This will let the boss see what you’ve got and give you the freedom you crave.
- Understand your leader’s needs. Remember that your boss may have to justify your decisions and actions to other people. A surprise could make your boss look bad.
- Analyze your attitude. How important is control to you? Pay attention to what you delegate and what you handle on your own. Are you allowing your workers to develop their skills, or preventing them from moving forward?
- Explain your priorities. Explain to employees why you need to perform certain tasks by yourself. Be sure your reasons have a solid business foundation beneath them.
- Practice. Look for opportunities to delegate tasks whenever you can. Make sure you’re empowering people to do meaningful work, not just unpleasant jobs you want to avoid. It will get easier the longer you do it.
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