Great leaders delegate results, not activities
To achieve rapid growth in this era, many companies have to fundamentally rethink a centerpiece of their operations. They need to reconsider what it means to manage employees.
More than ever, companies need to give their employees autonomy and ownership over what they spend their time doing. It means delegating results rather than tasks.
To many people, this seems counterintuitive. As a leader, when you have big goals in front of you, you want to make sure your staff are engaged in all of the “right” activities aimed at achieving those goals. But research and my own experiences as a CMO of Whereby (a videoconferences platform) show that giving employees more freedom is a more effective strategy.
Recently, I told one of my teams that I wanted them to build our brand awareness and “generate buzz” in the marketplace about us online. I did do not give them specific tasks, like a number of social media posts they should check out. In fact, I didn’t tell them anything about how they should achieve it. I opted for a hands-off approach. Also, I didn’t give them any budget for it.
What my team came back with exceeded my expectations. They had created some nice mockups of a billboard, 3D scaffolding billboard and other signage announcing a very positive review we received in the New York Times. Out of all the social feeds we monitor, we’ve seen fantastic responses. Imagery has made people curious, interested and excited about us as a startup.
Our internal dashboards allow me to monitor all kinds of metrics, helping me track brand awareness growth. He pulled up.
It wasn’t surprising. After all, research shows that “empowering employees to be empowered improves performance,” phys.org reports. “Managers who encourage staff to take better control of their workflow by putting them in charge end up with more competent and connected teams with motivated, engaged, efficient and loyal employees.
Here’s how to do it in any organization:
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This type of autonomy only works successfully if you have the right team. When hiring, I always look for people who are curious, who challenge the norms and who are motivated to bring their own creativity and energy to the job.
I want people who regularly present their own ideas, but who are also willing to accept when theirs aren’t the best – or just not the chosen ones. It is important that they demonstrate their ability to fully support any strategy chosen by the team and try to make it the best they can be. If you are not sure that the people you have hired are working together as effectively as they could be, the “five dysfunctions of a team” self-assessment can help.
For many business leaders, the next step is the most difficult: don’t breathe down the necks of your employees. Good workers don’t need constant reminders of time constraints. They don’t need me to check their progress every day. It means reframe what it is like to ‘delegate’. As a columnist for the Society for Human Resource Management Noted, “True delegation is about assigning responsibility for results as well as the authority to do what is necessary to produce the desired results.”
Inevitably, this autonomy will be sometimes lead to mistakes or results that are not as successful as you had hoped. But it is okay. Managers need to let people learn from these experiences. When I was working my way up through the marketing ranks, there were times my bosses gave me results to achieve, and I didn’t do as well as they or I had hoped. But by giving me the freedom to experiment, my managers helped me understand where things were going wrong and do better in the future.
When considering making this type of change, some managers tend to think that they should only loosen the reins on some tasks while remaining more prescriptive on others. But as a rule, it doesn’t work. When your employees know that you are the kind of boss who has strong beliefs about the exact activities they should be involved in each day, it affects the way they manage. all their work.
This need for autonomy also applies to remote work. My employees and I work remotely. As FastCompany reports, “Leaders who offer more freedom, even in a remote workplace, have fewer issues with the transition and see a remarkable advantage. As a result, trust, commitment and innovation are flourishing. I therefore strongly recommend to make autonomy the default value in your leadership style. Tell employees what results you want to see, not how to get them. Be available when they have questions and concerns, but let them find their own answers as well.
After all, one of the most motivating things to say to employees is, “I can’t wait to see what you come up with.”
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.