Chris has been contemplating how you can take ownership of your role and encourage your people to take ownership of theirs.
The vast majority of people want to do an amazing job at work and showcase their best self. As leaders, we need to create the space and remove any roadblocks for that ownership to take off and soar into flight.
As a leader, if we want people to take ownership, we need to illuminate the path and show them where we’re heading: the destination (the north star), the vision and the mission. It’s about posing these as a set of questions to your team. It’s not, ‘Here’s the vision. And these are the steps on how we’re getting there.’ Instead, it’s, ‘What are your thoughts on how we get there?’ Invite your team to problem solve and then lay the stepping stones to help them reach your joint destination.
This gives a strong signal straightaway that you’re trusting your team and want their guidance, enabling people to unlock their true genius inside and own their role. It’s allowing people to own their role at the end destination and celebrate their mini victories along the way. They’re more likely to celebrate these small victories if they can truly say ‘I did that’.
I’ve learned in my experience that it’s not about delegating tasks and work; it’s about delegating authority. This generates a sense of ownership from start to finish, as we’re saying that we rely on you, we trust you, and we’ve put you in charge. We’re emotionally investing in you.
Our job as leaders is to place people into a position where they feel comfortable enough to be challenged, but also comfortable enough to allow and embrace their mistakes, to come to the forefront and learn from them.
A few years ago I heard someone say, ‘Trust them before you have to’. The more I coach, the more I’m convinced that people know how to solve their own problems.
The final step to owning your own role and empowering your team to own theirs is accountability. When you allow people to take ownership of their part of the process, that’s when you have a team working together with no shame or blame, just a ‘responds-able’ mindset.
You also need to consider the main roadblock to owning your role… micromanagement. Holding people accountable is one thing but looking over their shoulders and breathing down their necks, is a completely different one.
Another roadblock is time. Instead of thinking, ‘We don’t have time to make mistakes and fail’, think, ‘We have time to experiment and tweak stuff, so people can achieve the best results’.
The third key roadblock is lack of confidence. As leaders we need to help people scaffold their confidence, to truly take ownership of their role and step into that new experience.
The reason I and most people go into leadership is to see people grow. Yes, I want to achieve an outcome, but I also want to empower my team and get the best out of people in their roles.
If a leader does their job properly and cares about their people, they’ll have a confident team all pulling in the same direction, who care about their role and the business.
If you empower your team, as a leader, you’ll gain the opportunity to say, “I’ve got the right people, in the right place, with the right motivation and the right intentions.” By taking ownership, what we’re really doing is investing in ourselves.
How do you own your role?