When you start building your team, you’d usually start with teaching them how you want to do things. It’s part of not letting go of control.
At one point though, when you start seeing that your team are awesome rockstars, you realize that letting go of control and empowering them to do things their way will allow you and your team to grow. I must admit, I’m a control freak and letting go and empowering my team is a process that I learn to do every single day. If you’re like me, you’ve probably asked the questions - How do I empower my team? How do I recognize the moments where I can let things go? I usually read about these things but there are instances where I recognize them myself. Here are a few things that I learned so far:
Let them figure things out.
Admit to yourself that you don’t need to know everything and admit to your team that you don’t know everything. While your team would lean on you for knowledge and support, asking for their help to figure some things out will let them grow. Don’t be afraid to ask them the question, “Can you figure this out?” They want to use their brains. They are curious and they are rockstars - that’s why they made it to your team in the first place.
Be on the lookout with their ‘zone of genius’
One’s ‘zone of genius’ are things where people excel in. As a leader, this is one of the most important things that you should be observing. There are times when seeing where they excel the most is obvious and there are times when you need to test out the waters. Recognize these zones and hone it further.
Let them tell you what they can do
Just recently, I asked one of our VArmies, Jules, to figure something out - she needed to make an analysis on survey responses. When she submitted her work, she mentioned that the last question was subjective and so the answers really differed from each other. She asked me if she would still do an analysis of it. I told her, “You tell me. I have no idea how you did this. So you tell me if it’s possible.” Her response, “Let me do it.” That’s empowerment right there. Oh and what she delivered was something I knew I wouldn’t have been able to do and I let her know.
Be happy when you are corrected
There are several times when I thought I was right. I would argue relentlessly but since Alla and I showed our team that they can fight with us, argue with us and correct us if they know they are right, they do. Oh boy, do they. There was time when I thought Mike, my awesome right hand, wasn’t getting what needed to happen. We went back and forth. I was frustrated. Then I was slapped with a screenshot. As soon as I saw his red circle in the screenshot, I knew I was the one who was not getting it. Instead of being stubborn, angry, or feeling like I was defeated, I laughed and I WAS PROUD. I was proud that Mike corrected me. He stood his ground and he wasn’t afraid that I wasn’t backing down. When your team starts correcting you, that’s when you know - this team has my back. They won’t let me believe I was doing the right thing when in fact, I was wrong. These are just a few ways that you can empower your team. It takes practice and it never ends. Empowering your team is something that you do day in and day out.