"Am I hiring him to do what I say or to let him do what he says?"
My role as President at Efficient Technology Inc is to empower my team to do their best work. While in college I often heard people say “hire people who are smarter than yourself”. Since I was getting straight A’s I initially didn’t understand what they meant by ‘smarter’ than me. As an entrepreneur, it was easy to get caught up in the notion that I already have the best ideas. Truthfully, that was just my immature thinking for that age. What the advice-givers really meant was to hire people who are smarter in their respective roles and areas of expertise. In addition, I have learned to not just hire those people but to let them do what they’re great at doing.
We just hired a VP of Sales and Marketing. He’s an outstanding person with excellent experience and philosophies. His ideas are sound and, frankly, better than the ideas we have been using for the past five years. So here’s the question I have to ask myself: Am I hiring him to do what I say or to let him do what he says? Since I believe in empowering my team to do their best work, the answer is obviously to let him do what he believes is best based on his expertise.
How can you empower your team to do their best work? I have a few simple rules to ensure I can actually extend power to my team.
- I believe in my team. There is no better gift you can give someone than to believe in their abilities by telling and showing them your belief.
- I believe that empowerment works. What you believe forms your reality, so if you don’t believe empowering someone will work, then it won’t.
- I set expectations and measure results. My goal is to get someone’s best work from them therefore I set that expectation and look for the results.
- I show trust by leaving my team alone. Empowerment is the opposite of micromanagement – trust that the work will be done and you’ll be surprised at not only how well it gets done, but how effective the person becomes.
Giving a new team member full authority and leeway to perform is not necessarily easy nor given without measures of trust and rapport, but wow is it effective. Not only is our new VP already outperforming what I can do in the realm of his expertise, but the synergy the entire company gains from his excitement,focus and the exercising of his strengths is beyond expectation.