A true leader displays personal power rather than position power.
Leading the charge is an important element in employee partnership. When I was a child, my mother would say, “Do as I say and not as I do.” Which choice do you think I made? Sure, I’d do as my mother “did” and frequently got in trouble for my actions. If this scenario sounds familiar, you better change your approach.
“Be sure you’re prepared to live the values you profess—your people will ‘hear’ what they ‘see,’ not what you say.” Dan McNamara, Senior Vice President, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America told me this when I interviewed him. He really learned about perceptions in employee partnership.
High-Performance Employee Partnership
If you want to develop high performance employee partnership, you must do so by example. One way to lead by example is to exhibit self-confidence. You can show that you are a confident leader. A leader has personal power. A boss gets his or her power from the title on a business card. Show your confidence by delegating tasks and responsibilities to your team members. Delegate in a way that builds alliance relationships so team members become interdependent with one another rather than dependent or independent. This will give you an integrated organization.
Listed below are some tips for high-performance employee partnership through delegation:
- Adjust your attitude and be willing to hand over control, if you can.
- Identify which tasks can be delegated and then define the delegation for your employee.
- Create a training program because delegating without educating is a formula for disaster.
- Show trust in your team and encourage trust between members. Your employees will enjoy no greater honor than your trust.
- Spell-out the limits, explain results wanted and define authority. Create a safety net so individuals can take risks. If they make a mistake, still acknowledge the risk they took. This will go a long way in building a robust relationship.
- Ask for, and agree on a project/delegation deadline. Wow, what a concept, let them tell you when they can get it done. First give the time parameters and then get out of their way.
- Set intermediate goals and check to be sure the goals are being achieved. Regular follow-up is crucial to success. Be careful though, a new employee needs much more follow up than one who has been around for years.
- Delegate with a purpose, no busy work. Explain the reason for the delegation and how the activity affects the workplace in total. Your employee will then have buy-in or better yet, an ownership in the project.
- Delegate the what, not the how and get out of the way. Do not micro-manage. Micro-management is the kiss of death in building partnering relationships with employees.
- Be honest with your team members and assign tasks fairly based on ability and past performance. Be careful of the teacher’s petsyndrome. Discrimination for whatever reason is destructive to workplace harmony.
- Avoid perfectionism, especially if you are one of those analytical types. Give people a reasonable margin got error and accept that different can also be effective.
- Debrief after the project delegated is complete. Ask for feedback from the person you delegated the task to. Did you give them the authority and tools necessary to successfully complete the delegated task within the deadline? Also give helpful feedback to your employee on how they could improve the next they receive a delegated task.
- Do not take on the projects of others until you are sure you want the responsibility. If you take on something from your team members, which they should be doing, you can easily become the supervised rather than the supervisor.
Do most, if not all, of the things listed above and you will be successful in building synergistic employee partnership and developing empowered employees. Empowered employees take risks, are innovative and make the kind of decision that you would make. What more could you ask for as a leader? Good luck and much success.
Ed is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, Cigar PEG Philanthropy through Fun, and president at Rigsbee Research which conducts qualitative member ROI research and consulting for associations and societies. He has been called “the dynamite that broke up our log jam” by association executives—rarely politically correct and almost always provocative—and from a dozen years as a United States Soccer Federation referee, Ed calls it the way he sees it. Exceptional resources at www.rigsbee.com.
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