By Michael Gunther
The new year is a great time to re-educate yourself on best business practices and ways to strengthen your leadership. However, a lot of what you may find in online business articles are tips and tricks when what you actually need is advice on long-term leadership style changes. This article focuses on one of the most challenging, yet effective, ways to sustainably transform your company. Learn to effectively delegate and empower your team so that they will grow as individuals and utilize these new skills to increase productivity.
To compete in today’s fast-paced market, organizations need to find new ways to manage their resources. The best way to improve an employee’s output is for leaders to first look at themselves. Leaders cultivate the environment that employees will emulate. This means leaders should work on providing clear direction, clear expectations, and delegating tasks that will challenge an employee.
Aside from properly managing current employees, effective managers will know how to find and acquire top talent in order to build strong teams. This includes quantifying the interview process to ensure each candidate matches the needs of the company, assessing the behavior and communication styles of new hires (we find the WorkTraits program highly effective), and instilling ongoing training and leadership educational programming.
Finally, strong leaders will recognize the fine line between getting the most out of their people and burning them out. This goes back to understanding your employees’ behavioral styles so you can lead and manage the team effectively. Leveraging human productivity means leaders must start slow in entrusting employees to handle a task or project, but then guiding and supporting them as the projects increase in difficulty. Cultivating an employee’s competency will likewise increase their confidence.
All of these tactics are wrapped up into the incredibly useful Freedom Scale tool. This methodology optimizes human productivity by indexing five levels of empowerment and delegation. This way, leaders have the opportunity to assess an employee’s level and match it with increasingly challenging tasks to increase their growth and productivity. The Freedom Scale is essential to employee development and should be a part of every performance review.
The Freedom Scale is also designed to ease an employee into increasingly advanced roles vs. throwing them in feet first. As leaders and managers are often pushed by senior management to get more done with less budget, the Freedom Scale gives them the opportunity to delegate appropriately to their team. Each employee is assigned a level from one to five; levels one and two are considered “high producers” who efficiently use their resources. Level three is the average employee who evenly uses their resources and productivity. On the low side are levels four and five, which categorizes the least productive employees using the most resources. To find out more about effectively utilizing the Freedom Scale, download our comprehensive white paper on the topic. The white paper is a deep dive into the qualities of each level, which helps leaders categorize their individual team members.
Effective delegation is a leadership quality that must be learned, then practiced often. If you’re searching for a way to better utilize your resources, i.e. your team, then the Freedom Scale will help you assess your employees’ value to the organization and institute a mentoring path to help them become even more productive.