Early in my career, I felt as though I needed to handle every responsibility that came my way. As the boss, I was reluctant to hand off tasks to my team, and I took on too many roles — even ones that were not directly related to serving my clients. I felt as though I absolutely had to do it all.
What I know now that I wish I knew then is that this mindset was hindering my organization’s ability to grow. While I tried to cling onto control and wear all of the hats in my organization, I was reducing my focus on clients, limiting my team, and heading toward burnout. When I started to use my team as a lateral relationship, I immediately noticed a positive change.
The value of enabling your team
In order to effectively lead your organization, you need to allow your team to shoulder some of the responsibilities. You cannot handle everything on your own, nor should you try to do so. When you allow members of your team to step in and handle different tasks and responsibilities, you will notice a greater capacity for success:
When you enable your team to handle the day-to-day responsibilities and other tasks that you still oversee, you will free yourself up to dedicate your time, energy, and focus on your clients and on developing strategies that will move your organization toward growth. Think about how much better your organization would be if you were able to prioritize the parts of your job that only you can do instead of focusing on responsibilities that your team was hired to handle. Teamwork helps you accomplish more.
It is important to remember that you do not have all of the answers. Sometimes seeking ideas and opinions from your team will help you come up with solutions that you would not have thought of on your own. It never hurts to have an outside perspective to help you see a solution you may have missed or come up with a strategy that will push your organization toward success.
When you don’t allow or train your team to take care of certain tasks, you will have no choice but to take them on yourself. This will quickly become overwhelming, and it will lead to an increase in fatigue and a decrease in productivity. When your plate is too full, you cannot work or lead efficiently.
How to enable your team
You may be asking yourself if looking to your team as a lateral relationship will make you seem weak as a leader. I want to assure you that this move will actually have the opposite effect. Your team will feel like their input is valued, and they will be more likely to develop and offer solutions that they can carry out to help your organization.
Here are two ways you can help enable your team:
Seek input and critical feedback
Instead of always telling your team what you think, ask them for their thoughts, solutions, and strategies. Make sure to take note of their input and give them permission to implement their ideas and fix the issues they bring to your attention. Your organization will be better for it.
Meet with your team regularly
If you want to practice good leadership, you need to seek input from your team regularly. Asking for their suggestions once in a blue moon will not be helpful, and it will not give your team a chance to focus on what aspects of your organization need improvement.
Set a time for you to meet with your team on a consistent basis. Make sure the members of your team are always thinking about areas where your organization falling short or being held back. If you do this, you will notice better feedback and greater potential for growth.