When you trust your team, two people grow.
Colette, controller for a paper mill in Manitoba, Canada, told Session 8B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"Last week, I spent two days at business meetings in Toronto, and then another day at a meeting at our corporate office. With travel time, I would be out of the office for most of the week. While I'm away, I use my laptop to check emails to ensure that the office is running smoothly. I was able to access my emails on the first night. The following two days, the internet connection was very poor and I was unable to access any of my emails. For some reason, I wasn't too concerned. This is not like the old me who spent a lot of time worrying about what would and wouldn't get done while I was away from the office.
There was a time not too many weeks ago when I would have called the office several times to check in on things. It wasn't until my flight home that I realized that I had no concerns because of the new Accounting Manager we have recently hired. The work that I had seen her perform in the few months that she has been with us, along with her knowledge and experience, allowed me the comfort of knowing that she would be able to handle any situation that may arise.
When I returned to the office the following week, I spoke to her to let her
know that even though I could not access my emails to see what was happening at the mill, I took comfort in knowing that she was there, and that I knew she would be able to handle any issues that may come up. I could see that she was pleased to hear it. Her face lit up with a smile as she thanked me.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that it's okay to give up control, and that a part of an empowering leader's job is to trust that others can handle situations while I'm away! Trust is required for true empowerment.
The action I call you to take is give up some control, empower others to take on a part of your workload, and when employees start to pull a little more of the weight, be sure and take the time to give them the praise they deserve and desire. Tell them about the benefits their work is providing to you personally and to the company. Be sure they understand how what they do contributes to the fulfillment of the organization's mission.
The benefit you will gain is your employees will gain a greater sense of meaning from their work. They will feel more empowered, will accomplish even more than you expect, and now you can relax."