Empowering Employees: 6 Mistakes Leaders Make and How to Fix Them

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The best and the fastest way to grow your business is to grow your people first. Actually, at the core of leadership is growing others, and empowering your people is key for them to grow faster. That being true, does everyone look at empowering people in the same way? Probably not, and everyone can improve the way they empower their people in their business.

Here are six mistakes to avoid in empowering your employees and how you can fix these mistakes fast.

Mistake 1 – Unclear Expectations

If something isn’t clear, generally…is something good or bad happening? Probably something bad. You are a busy person and often delegate a result with enough clarity for your people to get started, but with not enough clarity for them to deliver the result your satisfaction. You think you have empowered your people. However, you haven’t made the result clear enough for them to use their own creativity to achieve your result in the best way possible.

Fixing It (the Habit)
Invest the time to get the result you want clear in your own mind first before you have the conversation with your people to empower them with the result. Then, take the necessary time to communicate your expectations, to answer your people’s questions, and to make the expectations clear in your people’s mind.

Mistake 2 – Lack of Preparation

To truly empower your people, what you delegate to your people should really stretch them to grow in order to achieve it. The most common mistake you make is not preparing your people to effectively understand and deal with the conflict that comes with delivering the expected result. You need to prepare your people so that the conflict is not a surprise, and help them to learn to deal with conflict that comes along in steps, not leaps.

Fixing It (the Habit)
Think through how you will empower your to people so that the my will learn how to deal with increasing levels of conflict within the results you are asking them to deliver. There is an old saying, “You will rise to the level of conflict you can handle.” Help your people to grow to meet any conflict they may encounter, and fewer conflicts will reach than before (with your people now being able to handle them).

Mistake 3 – Less than Candid Feedback

Have you noticed…people who are afraid to hear negative feedback are also afraid to give it too?

Your people cannot improve fast enough if you do not speak candidly with them and tell them straight on how they can improve their results and their behaviors.  Actually, you are doing your people a disservice if you don’t give them candid feedback as you are slowing their growth and advancement.

Fixing It (the Habit)
Observe your people and take note of examples of the areas they should improve. In this way, you can more effectively explain how your people can improve and the examples enable you to be more clear and confident in your communications (and with more credibility too).

Mistake 4 – Not Enough Support Given

In complex organizations, there is always a level of politics that needs to be worked through to achieve the right results. Your people can handle some of it. However, there are times when they will need your support (some air cover) when the results you desire require changes across many parts of the business. Your people might need your help and support to gain the necessary alignment.

Fixing It (the Habit)
When empowering your people, invest some thinking time to anticipate when your people might need your help to gain the right alignment. Also, make them aware that you are available to provide your support if and when it is needed.

Mistake 5 – Unproductive Follow up

Be honest now…why do you follow up? Is it for you to feel more control of what your people are doing or is it so that you can help them to deliver a better result and faster? Successful leaders who truly empower their people will follow up and ask questions so their people come up with their own solutions versus giving their people the answers. Follow up is really an opportunity to coach your people and elevate their thinking to see their own solutions.

Fixing It (the Habit)
Be prepared for when you follow up the results and progress of your people and remind yourself of the need to coach your people versus give your people the answers.

Mistake 6 – Taking a Selfish Approach

Are you delegating and empowering your people for only your advantage or to grow your people and your organization faster?  It is easy to delegate what you don’t like to do. However, your people grow the fastest when you empower them to do something really meaningful (and that’s something you like doing too).

Leadership is about them, not you…so empower your people with challenging and rewarding results, and you grow a replacement faster so you can be promoted faster too.

Fixing It (the Habit)
Don’t keep holding on to work you like to do, and by doing that, slow your people’s growth.  Make a list of these efforts/outcomes and start preparing your people to take these responsibilities on in the future. You cannot build a great team around you by being selfish.

In Summary

Reduce or eliminate these six mistakes and you will grow a powerful team around you faster and achieve what you want faster too.

Remember to:

  • Communicate Clear Expectations
  • Preparation your People to Handle Conflict
  • Give your People Candid Feedback
  • Provide your People Air Cover
  • Coach When You Follow-up
  • Delegate What You Like to Do

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