I’m not nearly as cynical about New Year’s resolutions as most people are. I think resolutions can be good things. It’s a time of year when we feel like we’re being given a fresh start, so why not look toward a bit of self-improvement?
Lose weight? Sure. Exercise more? Great. Watch less TV? Wonderful. Of course, these resolutions are better if you are the one person in 100 who actually follows through on them.
But as a leader, here’s a resolution I propose for you for 2015. How about resolving to empower more people on your team next year?
When we empower others, it is really about granting them our influence, our power, and our authority, for the purpose of developing them and helping them grow. If your organization is going to fulfill its maximum potential, you as a leader are going to have to invest in others.
Your people – like most employees – are at their best when they are contributing to a cause and an objective that is bigger than themselves. That is when they are the most motivated, the most inspired, and when they feel the greatest sense of purpose. The whole principle of empowering others has tremendous power behind it.
As John Maxwell wisely points out, it is only secure leaders who give power to others. That helps to explain why so many leaders hold onto power like Ebenezer Scrooge clutched his pounds and shillings. Insecure leaders fail to see how their own power and authority can actually be enhanced when they empower those on their teams.
On the other hand, I met with a CEO the other day who was expressing extreme frustration. “Mark,” he said, “I feel that I am giving my team power, but they aren’t doing much with it. I challenged them at our last meeting. I told them that this whole year, not once did any of them push the bounds of the power I have given to them, and that tells me they aren’t taking full advantage of that power.”
This CEO demanded of his team that they each resolve to take more risk in 2015, to take more of the authority that he has been willing to give them and push it to the edges. “Let’s challenge ourselves to take more risk,” he told them.
So if your team has the capability to grow at a faster rate or to accomplish more and greater things than their current performance demonstrates, it could be that as a leader you aren’t giving enough power to those around you. Ask yourself if you are really making your team members feel comfortable in taking advantage of that power.
As you become an empowering leader, in this coming year and beyond, you will watch your performance improve and see your organization rise above others. And while you are at it, remember one other resolution, a simple one that I recommend to everyone: Lead with passion!