Under a banyan tree, nothing grows.
As an effective leader, it is your duty to not only lead the team to success, but also to empower team members to take on higher challenges.
Empowering your team mates is an effective delegation skill. At the same time it also helps develop greater confidence in people.
When a team member who has always taken directions from you goes ahead and runs a training session successfully, imagine what it will do to her confidence. The momentum gained from executing such a task would be contagious. She’d want to take on the next thing, and the next. Before you know it, she will become a valuable “race horse” in the team.
This is equally good for the leader, who can now free up some time from these tasks (which can now be safely delegated) and focus on other “high maintenance” team members.
Here are some tips as you consider empowering your team members:
- Start small. Identify small tasks, especially to people who’ve never done things on their own before. Be very careful in what you delegate. Some things must be done only by you, the leader.
- Provide the necessary resources. In one instance, one of my team members was running an informational session for our North American support team. There were about 14 people on the web conference. I sat with this lady and helped her build the power point slides to be used for the informational session. We went over what sub-topic should be covered in each slide (there were about 8 of them) and I helped her build the table of contents. She filled in most of the material in each slide, occasionally checking with me. When the training session began, I was one of the first members logged in (and seen as available), but was silent during the whole session. Just having me in the session (as fallback) gave my team member terrific confidence, and she did a great job in running the meeting.
- Have trust in the person you are delegating. For this it is important to “pick the right person for the right job”. Don’t come down hard on the person if the first attempt fails. Instead, analyze the reasons for failure and then provide another chance.
- Look for opportunities to delegate in pairs. Sometimes team members work well in pairs or groups. Find out who bonds well with whom and give them the opportunity to work together.
- Remember to always “stand by your team” and take full responsibility. I have found it very satisfying (even though it is stressful at the time) to take the blame when something goes wrong.
As captain of the ship, victories and defeats all go into your report-card. So pick the tasks you delegate very carefully. Empowering others is one of the most important traits of an effective leader.