Imagine a successful organization. What does it look like to you?
For many, the image that comes to mind is a well-oiled machine where each part functions perfectly and in sync with the others. At the heart of this machine, of course, is the decision-making process. But how are these decisions being made?
If you’re like most entrepreneurs and leaders I work with, you genuinely want to transfer the ownership of decision-making to your teams. You know they’re capable – that’s why you hired them in the first place – and you recognize that decision-making is a critical skill to develop in each and every employee.
Now, imagine your own organization.
- Is it a well-oiled machine?
- Is the decision-making process running smoothly?
- Are you helping your team make decisions, or are you merely telling them what to do?
- And, do me a favour… be honest with yourself.
You see, there’s a subtle but powerful difference between the two. Telling your team what to do might get the job done in the short term, but it creates an environment of dependency. Your team members become reliant on you for decisions, which is stifling their growth and potential.
More importantly, it overlooks a vital opportunity to foster a sense of ownership and accountability in your team that can help them grow (and help your business grow, too).
In contrast, helping your team make decisions empowers them. It gives them a voice, fuels their creativity, and boosts their confidence. It allows them to learn, grow, and take on more responsibilities, and to think outside of the box. When team members are involved in decision-making, they become more invested in the outcomes and are more committed to executing the decisions effectively.
In short, empowering your employees to take on decision-making opportunities has the power to transform them into leaders within your organization.
So, how do you transition from telling to helping in decision-making?
First, you cultivate a culture of open communication. Encourage your team members to express their ideas and opinions. Make it known that their input is valued and appreciated. There are no bad ideas.
Second, practice active listening. When your team members feel heard, they are more likely to contribute their ideas and engage in decision-making. Active listening is one of the most important skills you can foster in yourself as a leader.
Third, provide guidance, not answers. Guide your team members through the decision-making process, help them weigh the pros and cons, and let them arrive at the decision. This approach not only helps them develop critical thinking skills but also fosters a sense of ownership. Fail fast and learn.
One of the best ways to enable and empower your team to make better decisions is to implement decision-making guidelines or standards. These don’t have to be complicated – they can be as simple as:
- Does this support the strategy or ladder up to one of our strategic plans?
- Does this fit our brand guidelines?
- Is there a tangible ROI on this purchase or decision?
You can set criteria for when a decision needs to be approved by a leader, such as purchasing decisions over $X or major changes to brand standards.
Finally, be patient. Transitioning from a directive style of leadership to a more collaborative one takes time. There will be challenges along the way, but the rewards in terms of team growth and performance are well worth it. Offer guidance to land at solutions.
If you’re ready to make a shift and create a more empowered, engaged team, we should talk. At Rumin8, we’ve developed the tools and techniques to help our clients create the processes and frameworks necessary to transform their businesses, empower their teams, and scale – fast.
With a tailored strategy and the right tools, we can guide you through the process of creating a culture of shared decision-making within your organization.
It’s time to not just make decisions but to build decision-makers.