Giving employees autonomy to make decisions and solve problems is critical for your team’s innovation, performance, and motivation. But for many managers, trusting your team’s ability to self-manage is easier said than done.
Here’s how you can mentally prepare to delegate.
Reflect on what’s holding you back from empowering people to make decisions in the past. Is a specific failure haunting you? Are you a controlling person by nature? What were your feelings when you delegated in the past, and what can you learn from them?
Next, plan for a gradual transition of responsibilities. Start by giving low-risk decisions to capable people. This approach will help you build up confidence in yourself as a delegator—and in your employees as decision-makers—before you distribute responsibility more widely. Think of this as an opportunity to grow.
As you develop as a leader, it’s natural to shift your focus from small, in-the-weeds decisions to bigger-picture ones that inform strategy, innovation, and growth. Embrace these newer, higher-stakes responsibilities.
Finally, remind yourself that increased autonomy is good for your team’s morale. The best leaders give their people opportunities to develop and harness their own insights.