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As the boss or manager of your company, do you frequently feel like things are spinning out of control? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. All too often, employers find themselves struggling to keep pace with the day in, day out responsibilities of the job. Yet it’s usually their ownership of these responsibilities – and the fear of letting go of them – that bogs down the workplace and stifles overall success.
If letting go has been a challenge for you, then consider the following five secrets to empowering your people and becoming a better leader. Each has the ability to unlock the power and potential of your team, enabling your company to achieve the success it deserves.
1) Find an accountability coach. Just as you would consult an attorney on how to handle your company’s legal issues, find someone who is impartial to assess and improve upon your leadership style, as well as hold you accountable for your own success. Tough as it may be to let someone coach you on your current approach and make suggestions for change, this person has one key, crucial mission: to help you achieve your full potential as a leader. Businesses that fail to see the value of an accountability coach rarely instigate crucial change on their own, or take their leadership and the company to a greater level of achievement.
2) Become an empowering leader. To become an empowering leader, you must first determine what kind of leader you are today, using what’s called the “empowerment pendulum.” On a scale of 1 to 10, do you lean toward the control side (1) of managing your employees, or is your management style more on the empowerment side (10)?
Ideally, you want to empower others, and that’s accomplished through training, coaching, accountability, and supporting employees by providing the resources and opportunities to learn from mistakes. It’s also achieved by trusting your employees and making sure their values align with your company’s values.
Most importantly, you must demonstrate empowering behavior. All too often, company owners or managers say, “Hey, I want to be empowering!” But when an employee asks for help, they give them the answers, rather than require that person to seek the solutions for himself or herself. Even worse, they do the employee’s job for them, wearing what’s called the Big Red “S” for Supermanager.
If you’re doing everything yourself, it’s likely that you’re wearing this Big Red “S.” Shed this responsibility by getting the right people around you so you can delegate to your team, hold each member accountable, and empower your staff. After all, accountability is empowerment.
3) Establish and maintain fundamental business practices, policies and procedures. In everything you say and do, you must stay focused on practical solutions. Ask yourself what works and what doesn’t because the answers to these basic questions will uncover the secrets to running your business effectively. They will also shed light on the six business fundamentals:
leadership, mission, vision, values, and strategies and goals. Ultimately, you’ll need to define, establish, implement, track and evaluate each of these core fundamentals.
If this sounds like a massive undertaking, relax! The good news is you will not be the one doing all the work for a change. Instead, you’ll be training and managing your team to carry out these business fundamentals.
Through this effective leadership approach, you’ll be able to relinquish unnecessary control of the company and turn your attention toward developing your business instead.
4) Focus on the company’s vital factors. You know it’s important to monitor your body’s health with regular checkups that measure and evaluate your vital signs. For example, if you discover that your weight or blood pressure is too high, you change your diet and exercise. This often has a domino effect, improving other vital signs as well.
When it comes to a company’s health, an effective leader should also focus on vital signs, or what is called the organization’s “vital factors.” These are the crucial components that must be measured and accomplished for an efficient system. As the boss or manager, it’s your job to define both the company’s and your employees’ vital factors, determine how to impact these vital factors, and then teach your team to do so as well. This is most often done by measuring and creating ways to improve, as well as using a planning checklist that outlines how to fix each part of your company’s system. As you repair the system, you’ll start a chain reaction of change – the domino effect that enables overall business success.
5) Create passion with your people. This is the final secret to unlocking your team’s power and potential. And, any leader can do this by motivating and inspiring employees, but a truly effective leader goes one step further and implements accountability. As mentioned, accountability is empowerment, and empowerment breeds passion. This boils down to measuring employee performance and taking appropriate, timely action.
Many employers fail to implement accountability out of fear or because they view “taking action” as a negative. They believe this means pulling the employee aside to discuss how he or she is not improving, despite training and numerous opportunities to excel. But accountability can also be – and should be – a positive experience. For example, when someone is doing a specific task right, you can give positive performance feedback, yet still hold this person accountable.
Whether you’re delivering negative or positive feedback, don’t wait until performance reviews to hold someone accountable. At that point, your feedback is usually old news. Instead, impassion your employees with daily feedback – whether it’s on the phone, in the hallway or during project status discussions, etc. Vital factor meetings, where you’re discussing the company’s health, can also foster an environment that’s great for performance checkups. Always be on the lookout for ways to proactively impassion your team.
Accountability is the most underused tool on the part of mangers, yet it’s probably the most important. By learning to let go of the reins a little bit and pass on responsibilities to your staff members, you will unlock the power and potential of your organization.
About the author:
Lee Froschheiser, president and CEO of Map Consulting (MAP), works with many premiere business leaders and companies nationwide. Lee is also co-author of the best-selling book, “Vital Factors: The Secret to Transforming Your Business – And Your Life.” His consulting firm, MAP, specializes in transforming companies, and accelerates the performance of people, teams and organizations. Clients include WebEx Communications, Cold Stone Creamery, the Los Angeles Clippers and KIA Motors.