Empowerment and trust is something that seems lacking in certain organizations. Trust has to be built and as such takes time and without trust it is difficult to empower. First evaluate your people…can they handle the authority, empowerment, and trust? If you give too much authority too soon…you can literally be setting your folks up to fail. On the flip side… if you have individuals with experience and a proven track record…if you move too slow in trust, responsibility, and empowerment you can frustrate and demoalize your high potential players.
At times… when leaders misjudge or don’t trust in the capabilites of others the result can be comical. John Maxwell discusses Albert Einstein in his book, “Becoming a Person of Influence.” In 1898, Albert Einstein applied for admission to the Munich Technical Institute and was REJECTED with the comment…he would “never amount to much.” As a result he took a job as an inspector at the Swiss Patent Office and with his extra time refined his theory of relativity.
Everyone has the potential for success…as leaders we need to see, refine, and develop that potential.
Maxwell identifies three areas to focus on:
1) Knowledge: Think about what people need to know in order to accomplish anything you intend to give them
2) Skill: Nothing is more frustrating than being asked to do things for which you have no ability.
3) Desire: No amount of skill, knowledge, or potential can help a person succeed if the individual does not have the desire to be successful.
Finally, some individuals are easy to empower and trust, others take a great deal of time and effort…as leaders we must carefully examine the return on investment. Remember, sometimes the longer and more painful the investment and effort…the larger the payback…don’t miss the greatness…remember Einstein.