Last week I reflected on a period of about 5 weeks I allowed the team to take lead in areas I normally lead. During that period I was there as an observer and for (moral) support and allowed the team to call all the shots. OK, OK I was also there for quality control purposes. There! It’s out! I was also there for quality control purposes. Come on, I’m a leader concerned about our quality and standards… In fact, if you’re leader, I hereby give you permission to snoop! Yeah, snoop… “Quality control presence” is just a sophisticated way of stating and justifying impromptu leader’s appearance / presence! I think this is something that should be inherent with every leader. As the leader you are the quality control watchmen. How have you been doing as the quality control in your team or organization? Do you have any set standards and clearly communicated expectations?
In retrospect I saw what giving more responsibilities to my team had yielded. There has been a consistent and significant growth. Giving responsibility has upped the confidence in the leadership of the individual members of my team. When you give a team member greater responsibility, it is also an expression of your confidence in them. With greater confidence your team members will be more willing to chase greater goals. Thus, this enhances the performance and ‘delivery’ of your team. I’ll be honest and say there are times I have assigned responsibilities with some reservation and most of the times I got pleasant shock! Those you lead need to be affirmed not only in words, gifts etc but by being given greater responsibility.
Greater responsibility for some of my team members has also paved way for innovation. One of the guys was a given a job to do that I normally do. Because it is something that he didn’t do as often as I did it gave him freedom to approach the task assigned with a different approach from me. Not only did he do things differently but brought about a much appreciated “freshness” to an activity that we did regularly. When you want to “spice” things up engage a different head, voice and face.
Relinquishing some of my responsibilities also helped the team realize the demands of leadership at a level higher than what they were accustomed to. Some of my team got a more realistic insight into the cost of leadership and what it would take for them to occupy the seat I do. When you see someone with the desire to lead this is a good way to give them a glimpse of what leadership at your level looks like. Give them some of your responsibility and use that as an opportunity to give them a picture of what you’re trying to accomplish. Share your heart and give a deeper insight of why you do some of the things you do.
Because we’re all not the same, we communicate things differently. Clarity was another way giving responsibility enriched my team and those we serve. When you have someone on your team that totally understands the vision and what you are trying to achieve, give them the freedom to express the vision in their own way. Some of the people may better understand one of your leadership team members better than you. Why not allow them to communicate vision so you can get through to those you, as the senior leader have not been able to effectively reach.
The truth is even though you are the leader, not everybody you serve understands you the same. Someone on your leadership may speak the language of the guy in the “pew” better than you! If you are always the one communicating, people may get to a point of just “switching off”. Don’t forget that a great part of your job as the leader is not to “evangelize” everyone but more to “evangelize evangelists” who will reach everyone.
Not giving responsibility is detrimental to the team, the leaders needing to be trained, the leaders and the vision of the enterprise. It is tantamount to sabotage
Try not to interfere too much and see what those you give responsibilities will do. Whatever the outcomes, there will be something to learn for you and or your team. Like parenting, one of the goals of leadership is equipping people for greater responsibilities. What better way is there for helping people embrace responsibility than by giving responsibility. Allow your leadership to be an enabling one, by equipping those you lead through giving responsibility.