Some time back I was working with a leader who was having difficulty with his employees feeling empowered in their work. Ned (not his real name) was frustrated. "I don't understand it!" he stammered. "I assign tasks out, stay out of their way while they're completing the tasks, hold them accountable to dates, and praise them when the task is done well. I do all this yet my employees tell me I don't empower them. I'm ready to pull my hair out (ironically he was folically challenged)".
Empowerment - Problem Ownership = Errand Runner
Being responsible for completing a task is an important part of getting things done; but when it's done without owning the problem then the person doing the work is merely running an errand for someone else responsible for solving the problem. This not only results in less fulfilling work for the errand runner, it also significantly increases the likelihood that the resulting work product won't contribute effectively to solving the problem. The errand runner is one step removed from the problem and is throwing darts at a dart board in a pitch-black room.
The nugget here is simple: Delegate problems not just tasks. You'll get a better work product, develop a more empowered organization, and free yourself up to get more done.
Keynote Speaker | Board Director | Autism Advocate | Author | Project Management Expert | Microsoft/Accenture Veteran
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