I like developing self-directed teams. Heck, every smart leaders likes to develop self-directed teams that can make decisions on their own without having to rely on their manager. Most managers say it but rarely achieve it! Why?
Because most managers pay lip service to the word empowerment. Once a team makes a bad decision, managers pull the brakes on them and close that “empowerment” door; this is the opposite of empowerment.
It’s about empowering people to take initiative, be resourceful, think like owners and be entrepreneurial. Smart leaders know that bad decisions will happen, that’s just the way it is. They take the long view, knowing full well that an empowered team is 10x better than one that relies on the managers for making decisions.
With that said, what do you do when your team makes a bad decision? This is important because as a leader you want to continue encouraging initiative-taking and the decentralized decision making that will make your team more agile and effective
Here are five steps you need to take to respond to flawed decisions made by your team:
- Review the circumstances of the situation with the team members involved.
- Do not be critical.
- Explain that your goal is to make sure everyone learns from the experience and that the mistake is not repeated.
- Drive the conversation toward what can be done differently next time to get a better outcome.
- Make it clear that while the team members cannot afford to make the same mistake again, you appreciate their willingness to take initiative and want to encourage them to continue to do so.
When you follow these steps, you will send a clear message that you are serious about empowering your people.
Bottom line: You and your team will not be successful if you create a structure in which you make all the decisions. You want your team to take initiative, be resourceful, think like owners and be entrepreneurial instead of relying on you to tell them what to do all the time.