You and your employees have to make decisions every day. While it may be second nature to you as a leader, you may have employees that are afraid or lack the confidence to make decisions on behalf of the business. They may shy away from making decisions due to fear of failure or criticism from you or their peers.

This is not the way to consistently get the very best your employees have to offer. Create a culture where it's safe to fail and to learn from their mistakes.

Don't punish your people for making honest mistakes.

Making mistakes and suffering failure is how we learn. If you don't allow your employees to make mistakes or if you punish them when they do, they will never learn how to think for themselves. Picture a bike with training wheels: If you don't take the wheels off, your child will never learn to ride without them.

Reward positive outcomes.

Most of the time your employees will make good choices, and when they do, you should let them know they did well and that you appreciate it. You'll get more of the behavior you reward, so make it a point to praise the people who are doing things well.

Set a desired goal, then let your employees figure out how to get there.

Never dictate how your employees should do their jobs. Instead, tell them what the goal or desired outcome is, then let them figure out how to get there. You'll find that people develop their own approach to getting things done and will make many good decisions along the way. They won't always get it right, but by giving them the opportunity to try, you'll encourage them to make good decisions.

Be an example for others to follow.

To help your employees make good choices, you should make good choices yourself. In other words, model the kind of behavior you'd like to see in your workers. You can't expect people to make good choices when you're setting a bad example. But when you make good choices, you'll set the bar high for your organization and people will follow your lead.

Give feedback early and often.

If you don't offer immediate feedback, it will be hard to tell which choice was a good one or not. Make it a point to offer regular feedback, explaining the impact it had on your organization and customers and why you want to see more or less of it in the future.

Published on: Jun 1, 2018