Everyone repeats: ‘Delegate, delegate, and delegate more. But, when it comes to reality, managers find it challenging sometimes. I hope that this blog will bring more clarity in this very important area of leadership. Moreover, will help managers and their teams to feel happy rather than overwhelmed.
What is the difference between delegation and empowerment?
Delegation is giving somebody work or responsibilities that would usually be yours. Empowerment is the act of giving somebody the power or authority to do something.
Empowerment is strategic, while delegation is tactical.
The benefits of empowering your team are obvious: motivation and learning experience. While saving time to spend on strategic goals and your team's development. Because you cannot delegate leading your team, this is your main responsibility.
These are steps you can take, to support your team better.
1. Let them know. Share your intentions, and have a talk with your team. Help them to understand you and your goals. This is a dialogue, and you may have more ideas after your conversations. Openness is one of leadership’s essentials. It definitely helps to build trust within the team. Collect all feedback notes and ask your team to bring their development plans.
2. Ask. Asking employees about what they would like to learn is very important. You could trust new areas of responsibility or informal leadership of a working group. The more information you have, the better. The more involved is a person, the more engaged they feel at work. What is their career aspiration? Ask. Sometimes, seeing the person in a manager’s role seems obvious to you, and you would encourage them to move towards this goal. Yet, I saw so many people, who are not interested in managing others. Instead, they are passionate about their work and want to develop themselves in a different matter. Make sure, you check it with them, and listen.
3. Build a plan. It means – supporting them to build their empowering plan, not doing it yourself. This is the first thing to start with – give them the power to make a decision. It can sound too risky. Yes, but you will be there to help and guide, and can always re-assess it together. This can be a topic for the second meeting when you will discuss implementation and your involvement. Examples: leading a cross-functional project group where you had a leadership seat. Or preparing and sending out the dashboard for the senior management team, which you had to do in the past.
4. Inform your peers. This is what managers forget to do so often, their peers from other departments. Your manager is aware; your team is on-board. But, what about the colleagues? We forget them sometimes, and it brings so much miscommunication. When they expect project delivery from you, they receive emails from your team. To avoid any unpleasant conversations – inform them before. Talk to them. Moreover, reassure them that you are not excluding yourself from the process. But you will observe, support and respond to any uncertainty they may have.
There are more things to consider while empowering and delegating. But these basic first steps will help you to focus on the outcome both for your team and for yourself as a leader.