Well, I have to admit one thing today:
I underestimated what Satya Nadella could do for Microsoft.
Not only was it losing to its biggest competitors, there was a lot of infighting.
But Nadella turned things around.
Under his leadership, Microsoft did an amazing comeback: their market value jumped by $250 billion over three and a half years. As Fast Company reports, that's "more value growth over that time than Uber and Airbnb, Netflix and Spotify, Snapchat and WeWork."
If you're like me, you probably wonder... "how on earth did he do that?"
Yes, Nadella betted on the right business strategy.
But more importantly, he is one heck of a leader.
Just check out his Glassdoor approval rating by Microsoft employees...
His popularity lies within his ability to lead such a big organization and get everyone to row in the same direction.
And in his new book, he revealed his secret to great leadership that I think everyone should follow:
"It's our ability to work together that makes our dreams believable and, ultimately, achievable. Taken together, these concepts embody the growth in culture I set out to inculcate at Microsoft. I talked about these ideas every chance I got, but the last thing I wanted was for employees to think of culture as "Satya's thing." I wanted them to see it as their thing. The key to the culture change was individual empowerment. We sometimes underestimate what we each can do to make things happen, and overestimate what others need to do for us. I became irritated once during an employee Q&A when someone asked me, "Why can't I print a document from my mobile phone?" I politely told him, "Make it happen. You have full authority."
In just two sentences, or seven words, Nadella pointed out something very important that leaders don't do.
And that can only come from trusting your employees.
Most leaders (including myself at one point) try to empower employees, but don't actually want to let go of control. And that destroys a company's ability to grow super fast.
As my business grows to 9 states and counting with more than 170 employees, this is the perfect reminder for me to be a better leader.
So, how can you empower your people on a daily basis, without you getting in their way? Here are some tips that I have:
Stop micromanaging. Period. (Or else, why hire them?)
Develop a great training program to get them to always learn and grow.
Ask "Is this the best we can do?" Then, shut up and hear them out. Challenge, but don't kill motivation.
If you screw up, suck it up and take responsibility. Lead by example.
Try these tips. And most importantly, do this today...
Tell your employees the magic phrase: "Make it happen. You have full authority."
And watch how they can grow beyond what you think they can do.
I guarantee, you will be surprised.