Want to build a team of enthusiastic leaders? Prepare them properly and let them lead. Putting properly trained front-line personnel in positions that enable them to make decisions that stick enables you to gain their trust and build their commitment to the job.
As interest earned at a bank, the trust that you put into your team gains value as it spreads within the organization and it will lead to the achievement of outstanding performance by eliminating the bureaucracy that can often stifle progress.
Of course, your team must first be prepared to take the lead. Indeed, you need to be mindful of investing the time and energy required for them to rise to the highest levels of competency so that you may entrust them with making the "right' decisions. When they're ready, you can have confidence in letting your best and brightest do their thing.
Here are some ideas to drive your team to greater heights:
1. Tell and teach as you lead.
Periodically, it's important to take time out and gather your team together to help them be cognizant of the things that you're doing as you make key decisions. By demonstrating what good looks like, as you do it, you can build higher competence within you team.
I have a client that is a master of this kind of interactive leadership. He calls team huddles on a weekly basis to examine the different things that went into making a key decision during the week. These informal meetings are done in 20 minutes or less. He highlights an important work related event. Discussed what he considered in making the call and describes the outcome.
In this way, when he empowers his team to take on more responsibility he emphasizes the importance of them considering alternatives, evaluating the risks, and thinking through the implications of alternatives he has reference points that you can bring up to remind them how he does it. The process contributes to them making better decisions.
2. Involve your people in setting their "decision rights."
Mutually agree to the conditions when team members can act independently, and which situations require the involvement of you or others to assist them in direction-making. Setting decision rights and escalation parameters provides your team the "bowling bumpers" that they need to learn the ins and outs of leading, while limiting risks to the business.
3. Eliminate pocket vetoes:
If the United States Congress gives the president a bill and the president doesn't sign or reject it, the bill isn't passed. That's a pocket veto. You can do the same by not supporting your team when it makes decisions. Instead, when results are disappointing due to a sub-par call, use it as a teaching moment and discuss with them how to make a better decision next time. It will make them better and you will build a stronger and more resilient team as a result.
Lastly, training is an important element on staff preparedness. It is not emphasized here because it should be understood that you must properly train your team before charging them with of making key decisions. To do otherwise, of course, is fraught with peril. Once the team is prepared, try these three ideas and watch the team's progress pop.