How Do I Empower My Team to “Figure It Out”?

This week's question from “Ask Us Anything” comes from someone who wishes to remain anonymous.

I’m feeling overwhelmed, because there are many demands on my time. I’ve realized my team is still heavily relying on me for answers. They ask me lots of questions and want me to check over everything.

I want to empower them, so that they can just go for it and, and let them make mistakes. But I worry that some of their mistakes might impact my business. So, I have to weigh this. How do I transition them over to being empowered, so that I can free up my time and keep growing our business?

Stop solving their problems for them.

With every question they ask you, your response back to them should be, “What do you suggest?”

If they’re bringing you multiple ideas, ask, “Which idea would you fight for?”

You have to stop being the savior. Stop being the one who solves all the problems.

There’s a really great book called The One Minute Manager Meets The Monkey . It’s about how people love to pass the “monkey” (the problem) onto the manager. They come to you with their problem. Then all of a sudden, it’s not their problem anymore—it’s your problem. Now you’re bogged down in everyone else’s problems when they’re perfectly capable of solving those problems themselves.

This really relies on how you respond. If you find that your team is asking the same question over and over again, then that’s a different conversation.

When you empower your team to make decisions, they WILL make mistakes that impact the business. They’re going to, no matter what.

That has to be okay, because no matter what happens—you know that the business is going to be okay.

The idea is that they understand that you trust them to make the decision that’s in the best interest of the company, and that they’ve demonstrated they have the ability to do that.

It’s like you’re telling them, “It’s okay for you to make a decision. It’s okay for you to make a mistake. It’s better for you to make a decision that ends in a mistake than it is for you to constantly pull me in and feel like you need me for every single decision that’s being made.”

You’re going to love The One Minute Manager Meets The Monkey. Get that book right away.

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