One of my favorite leadership strategies regarding team member empowerment is to simply allow staffers, especially new ones, the room and the leverage to make decisions (and mistakes).
To do this you simply need to say two very important yet powerful words:
By letting a (new or long-standing) employee and team member make a decision around something important to the business, the organization, a process or system, and even the product, enables and empowers them in all the right ways.
Besides, you’ve already hired them, right? You’ve already decided to trust them with the work, at least in theory, so now it’s time to put that belief into action, make it real, and exercise a real organizational trust.
When you tell a team member that they will not only have the power to decide a course of action but also bear the burden of the consequences you have now truly modeled what most leaders and organizations only give lip-service to.
You are essentially telling the staff member that you believe in their ability to succeed, that your historical decision to bring them onto the team is being affirmed and validated, and that your own success as their leader (and the greater organization’s) is intimately tied to their performance.
You are betting on them, big time.
It’s an unbelievable opportunity to embolden and empower the individual but also, in tandem, to build long-lasting character, resolve, and personal leadership skills – the positive results and outcomes, both short and long-term, are too numerous to count.
And, if you, as the leader, find it difficult to utter these two simple words to the very team that you’ve hired and supposedly trusted to do great work… then you have identified a significant issue in your team and even the larger organizational culture.
It might just be time to practice.