If You Really Want To Empower People Get Out of Their Way

A few weeks ago I shared “My User Manual“, how to deal with me, with my team at Netek. I’ve used it for a long time to get people to talk about themselves in front of each other, so I thought it would be a great exercise for the team to express themselves in a safe way.

So last week I sat down with my team, everyone had their say and it worked wonders. I wanted to hear everyone’s take on themselves, and I wanted to do so myself to help them understand my perspective on leadership, management, innovation and strategy. One thing that I pointed out was this: if I’m micromanaging, we have a problem.

Yes, micromanagement is a real thing.  There are people, we’ve all worked with them, who are control freaks. They want to have their hands in everything. I know, because I used to be like this. But I stopped a while back because I started seeing how it created two things with my co-workers: trust issues and stress.

I was getting in their way.

Every once in a while it’s ok to come down to the tactical level, but not to get in the way; rather provide perspective. For me, I wasn’t trusting my co-workers. I recognized this and changed my ways.

In business circles this is called empowerment. It’s a big word. When leaders talk about empowerment they frame it as giving people power. It’s not true. First off, empowerment assumes people have no power. They do. Everyone does.

If you hire great people, you don’t need to control them; rather unleash them. So if you really want to empower people get out of their way; they already have power.