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Train, Trust and Empower Your Employees


Every day those who are qualified to lead are given the opportunity to do so. It’s an exciting change and a world of responsibility that can alter your workflow. No longer are you responsible for a few projects, but now, you’ve got a team to manage and inspire. However, with this appointment, it can be difficult for many to let go and not try to do all the work themselves.

Enter the challenge: Assigning work to others.

A lot of times we talk ourselves out of delegating the work. We may feel we can do the work better ourselves, that we may not have enough time to explain the project or that we just end up enjoying the work so much, we forget to bring others into the mix. If you’re not careful, at the end of the day, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the work at hand and you can begin to feel unnecessary stress and anxiety of deadlines. So how can you prevent this?

Here are 9 principles to keep in mind to help you better delegate the work and build a stronger team in the process:

1. Create an atmosphere that promotes goals and ways to expand

Make an effort to connect with your team on a regular basis about what leaders are thinking for the future of the business. Be open to new ideas and processes. Encourage your employees to set goals for their work and how they may align them with broader strategic goals for your team or company.

2. Build a trusting relationship with your employees

Have regular one-on-one sessions with your employees. Request that your employee outline beforehand prepared points of discussion such as work to review, quick wins throughout the week and any challenges that you can bring support to. To a reasonable level, use this time to gain a better understanding of how the employee is doing personally outside of work.

3. Set clear expectations for the delegated work

Be sure to communicate what you expect from the work that you delegate. If you don’t level set an expectation, it won’t be met.

4. Have a regular program of training and sharpening skills necessary for the role

There is always a better way of doing things. Don’t let your team or yourself fall into a rut of doing things the way you’ve always done them. This isn’t to say that change is constantly needed, but you should be evaluating the skills necessary to complete your tasks at hand.

5. Buy out time to work with or witness your employees in action

This is key for training and development. When delegating, don’t let your employee silo themselves in the work. Make sure that you are making an effort to witness the work in progress, whether that is attending a meeting that your employee is leading or by simply having them explain to you their thought process and approach to decisions. This is where you can offer advice, coaching and even learn from your employee yourself.

6. Unless the work is suffering, don’t take the work back

Again, it’s easy when you find yourself witnessing the work to be able to overtake a conversation or an idea and run with it. Be careful to let your employee maintain the lead on the project. You don’t want the delegation to turn into a “do what I say and want” situation. You want your employee to be able to learn from their experience, whether the project is a success or not.

7. Have a continual flow of communication – both ways

Ask for progress check-ins or reports, even a quick stop by their work area to get an update on the project. However, be careful not to micro-manage. Make sure your employee knows they can reach out to you whenever they need you.

8. Make sure your employees have all the tools they need to be successful

Put yourself in your employee’s shoes. How would you approach the work? What tools would you need or find useful to get the job done? Don’t expect a decent outcome if your employee is lacking in toolset or understanding of how to use the tools at hand.

9. Evaluate yourself and have your employees evaluate you

Be sure to get feedback from your employees on how you are doing as a leader. What are things that you could improve on to better support them individually and as a team? Be sure to also self-reflect. Look back at your day or week and think of how may have done things differently or not.

At the end of the day we all want the job to be done right and with success. It makes whatever work we do fun and fulfilling. If you ever have the privilege of being a team leader and you want to be successful, you have to train, trust, and empower your employees.