Leaders need to lead, not make decisions for their direct reports. Leaders are supposed to grow people, not do their work for them.
As a leader, it’s your job to steer them on the right path and teach them to take initiative on their own, but how do you do that?
Teach Them Not to Ask Permission
If employees feel the need to ask you permission before doing absolutely anything, especially those that are your direct reports, they’re never going to grow as employees. Your employees need to learn to trust themselves in the right circumstances.
“It’s important that your team believes in what they’re doing and believes that you trust them. Thinking you trust them is key to them taking responsibility.” – Cameron Herold
Learning to trust themselves and trust their leader’s opinion of them is how great work is done. They need to understand that you hired them for a reason – because they have the skills for the job.
So, how do you teach them to do that?
Tell Them to Ask These Questions
When one of your employees comes to you to ask a question, or get your opinion on something, teach them to ask these five questions before they email you, message you, or come to your office next time.
Those questions are:
- Is what you want to do right for the customer?
- Is it right for the company?
- Is it ethical?
- Is it something for which you’re willing to be accountable?
- Is it consistent with the company’s core values?
Teach your employees that if the answer is yes to all five of these questions, then they should do it. They don’t need to ask permission first.
Then Teach Them to Think Critically About It
Of course, asking permission is sometimes necessary depending on the size of the task and if they answered no to one or more of these questions. Don’t teach them to be afraid of asking permission, just teach them to know when not to do it.
A good way to do this goes along with asking questions–teach them to stop and think before they do something, be it doing the ask or asking permission. The critical thinking skills needed for this are something every employee should have.
So, tell your employees not to ask permission when they don’t need to. Teach them to think critically about their work and decide for themselves whether something is a good idea or not. In the end, teach them to be brave, have trust, and just do it!
What questions do you think employees should ask themselves before making a decision on their own? Let us know in the comments below!
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2017 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.