Archives for category: Empowerment

success team

My previous blog responded to the question: “Do the best leaders surround themselves with great people, or do they help the people around them become great?” with the answer “both”.

Focusing on the second part of this question, here are 10 common denominators that I’ve observed which help people become great (or at least much better) at what they do:

  • EVERYONE understands the company’s Vision, Direction & Purpose
  • There are clearly defined roles and responsibilities for every person on the team
  • KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and SLA’s (Service-Level Agreements) are established with each individual, and agreed to by both the manager & employee
  • Actual performance is measured against targets and “score-boarded” for all to see
  • Good results receive timely acknowledgement & praise
  • Poor results receive timely “coaching” for how to improve going forward
  • Employee strengths and opportunity areas are identified & understood
  • Strengths are exploited and areas for improvement reinforced
  • Ongoing growth & development within the organization is encouraged
  • Candid praise & constructive feedback occurs consistently with EVERYONE

Here’s a Leadership Challenge suggestion for you: review each of these 10 items and rate your business on a scale of 1 – 5, with 1 being poor & 5 being great.  Then, prioritize your opportunity areas for focused improvement based on the lowest scoring results.


Confused EE

During my career, I’ve been involved with business environments where there was great concern about publicly sharing how the company was performing.

The underlying paranoia was that if “P&L” or strategic information was shared with employees of the organization, then that data might (would) somehow be used against the company by the competition.

My belief is that as a leader, whenever you attempt to conceal performance (or other essential) details from your team, that not only fosters an environment of distrust but further reduces employee engagement. A 2012 Forbes article noted that of engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave the organization than the disengaged.

In leading your team,  it is imperative that we take the next step beyond communicating visions, strategies and goals by candidly and consistently reporting how we are doing.  Not openly sharing performance results is akin to playing any sport with no scoreboard…why bother if we can’t determine who is winning?


By definition, enable means to give someone the authority or means to do something.

Environments that are trapped in either show-stopping bureaucracy or micro-management create conditions that stand in the way of personal and organizational growth.

Conversely, operations that thrive on delegation and empowerment of employees create the opportunity for optimum and efficient productivity to occur.

An essential success component is to ensure that your colleagues have the direction, information and resources to complete their assignments once delegation has occurred.

Realize that delegation does require appropriate inspection, follow-up and validation that your people have everything they require to successfully  achieve objectives.

Great leaders truly understand their employee’s strengths and desires, and strategically assign work that aligns accordingly. They provide only the necessary guidance, advice and support in route to facilitating an outcome where all stakeholders celebrate victory.

enhance 2

Simple question: can you get more done by doing it all yourself…or…by enlisting your entire team and giving them the ability to utilize their talents, make decisions and help move your organization toward it’s objectives?

Unbelievably, I’ve seen many managers fall into the trap of thinking they must perform many tasks on their own, believing they can do it quicker or more efficiently.  Perhaps in the short term, but in the long run, this creates constricted and limited performance.

Leaders must understand what each of their people does well, and then DELEGATE to, and EMPOWER, every individual to go EXECUTE.  Not only does this improve operational efficiency, but it provides growth and self-satisfaction opportunities for the employee.

Throughout my career, when subordinates came to me with questions, I wanted to challenge their abilities.  I would often ask them “What do you think you should do?”.  Unless their thought process was completely out of bounds, I would tell them to go do it, and let’s see how it works.

95 % of the time their solution was just fine, and the other 5%, we learned from it!

People will surprise you with their results if you just tell them what to do, and let them figure out how to do it.

Don’t misunderstand.  Leaders must still “inspect what they expect“, monitor progress and course-correct as needed.  However, they don’t have to do it all on their own.

Heck, the results from the empowered person will often turn out better than what the leader would have achieved!

Maxwell empowerment