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Enabling for Employee Decision Making

Enabling for Employee Decision MakingAs we climb the ladder into more senior leadership roles, we have to rely on others to accomplish goals and meet objectives. We can’t continue to do it all as we take on more responsibilities at a leadership level. However, many leaders are not comfortable delegating authority to employees. They are afraid of what might go wrong if decision making or problem solving is left up to the employee. Other leaders just can’t seem to let go. They want to have total control over everything since they are ultimately responsible for the department.

However, if leaders don’t enable for employees to have some authority around decision making and problem solving, the following is at risk within the department:

  • Inability to retain top talent in the group due to a lack of learning opportunities (personal and professional growth) for employees.
  • Inability to accomplish goals and objectives because the manager cannot do it all on his own.
  • Lack of diversity which leads to a lack of innovation and creativity in problem solving and the potential for making decisions that aren’t the best ones.

In order to increase your comfort level with allocating authority to your employees, consider these best practice steps:

  • Assess the skills and competencies of each of your employees. Focus on decisions they have made in the past and problems they have solved.
    • Where have they been effective?
    • Where have they needed assistance?
    • Have they sought assistance when needed?
    • How have they handled difficult situations?
  • Assess your own comfort level with the risk involved in enabling others to make decisions and solve problems.
    • How risk tolerant are you?
    • Are certain decisions more easily made by others (and are you more comfortable with them making certain decisions) because there is less risk overall?
    • Can you set up parameters based on risk impact or complexity that enable for some authority for your employees but also enables for you to be comfortable with giving them control?
  • Ask employees to keep you “in the loop” when they are solving a problem or assessing choices to make a decision. Regular check-ins will enable you to be comfortable and to ensure the empoyee is heading in the right direction.

By taking these best practices steps, you’ll increase your comfort level and confidence in enabling for employees to have some authority in their roles. Over time, as you become more comfortable and employees prove that they are capable and can make good decisions and solve problems that arise, you can let go a bit more!