One thing you must do as a leader is to build trust. To form bridges between you and your followers. Especially in new relationships. At times, you may feel like the biggest person in the room, but if you constantly try to show just how big you are then you are only making yourself smaller. The ring of influence that surrounds you and determines your reach will begin to shrink. If you intend to build any amount of trust, you’ll have to relinquish some control. Hoarding control demotivates. The team feels as if they’re not worthy and therefore will not be all in.
Trust development begins with empowerment. Build trust then share the wealth. By making the decision to empower an individual, you are essentially saying you are confident in their ability to carry out that which you would normally do. A switch is flipped when you give them the opportunity to act on their own and make their own decisions. Their full potential is released. They will work harder and be more innovative. Be careful not to completely disengage and let go of the reins. They still need to be led.
A while back I became the go-to guy for one of our most important projects. I was in charge of processing all the documents and ensuring the whole process was carried out smoothly. It was chock full of regulation and most felt it was a daunting task because of the sheer amount of paperwork involved. For some reason, I was particularly passionate about it. I developed a system for handling each case and had it down to a science. Everyone came to me with their questions and concerns. That project was my “baby”. I had poured into it, but it was a lot of work. Additionally, it was something we all had a part in but not everyone was as involved as I was. Soon it was time for me to relinquish some control to a fellow co-worker. At first this was hard for me to do because I had put so much time and effort into it and in my mind nobody was as passionate about it as I had been. But for the program to be a success overall I had to relinquish control and take a role in developing the next person into a successful manager of it.
It can and will be hard to relinquish some control. It takes a great amount of courage to “hand over the keys”. But this is the key to real success. You have to realize that when you allow someone else to take part in what you have built, that they can actually bring to the table what you may have never been able to. You may need to give power away. The more you give away, the more you have.
Being a leader isn’t about telling people what to do, it’s about realizing your potential and empowering others.
Do you realize the power you have when you give it away?