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Trust Your People and Watch Them Grow


Trust is the number one characteristic of leaders. Without trust, people won’t follow you. Can you imagine buying products from a store or insurance from an agent you don’t trust? Would you hire a subcontractor who regularly uses less than the specified amount of materials to save money without approval? You’re just not going to do that. Would you do repeat business with someone you didn’t trust regardless of price?

People who aren’t trusted don’t go the extra mile. They just go through the motions and do the minimum. One of your jobs as a leader is to develop trust. Rather than doing the important jobs for your people, you can learn to let go and trust your people. In a Gallup survey poll, 66 percent of workers were asked to make decisions, but only 14 percent said they’d been empowered and trusted to make those decisions. Put people in charge and give them the tools, responsibility, and authority. Then watch them go and make a HUGE difference.

Do You Solve Other People’s Problems?

Do people ever line up outside your office door waiting for you to solve their problems? Why? Maybe you have a sign around your neck - "I SOPP” (I Solve Other People’s Problems).  If you solve other people’s problems, guess what happens? They bring you more problems, People know when they make decisions that you will likely second-guess them, often overrule them, and won’t trust them to be as smart as you and make the decision you would have made. So your people stop making decisions and stop being responsible. They give you back the accountability and they continue to bring you more problems. People responsible for nothing are responsible for nothing. Ninety-nine percent responsible is the same as zero percent responsible. Either you are responsible or you’re not. You can’t be partially responsible. You can’t say, "Handle this, but check with me first." Trusting people is the key to improving their performance.

Please Handle This

One construction company owner has a rubber stamp that they use when their people give them a simple request for approval. It states, "Please handle this and don’t tell me what you did!" The owner doesn’t want to know how the problem is handled. They just have to trust their people to use their best judgment and take care of it. People will make mistakes. But, when you ask them to be 100 percent accountable and responsible, they’ll figure out how to do it right and make good, careful decisions. If you continually answer their questions and do their job for them, they’re going to keep asking you for more help. You might even find out that your employees can make better decisions than you do, if you will let them.

Low Control = High Performance

Leadership is not about being in charge and doing all of the work or being in control. It is about getting results through people. Leadership is about delegating, encouraging, coaching, letting go, and low control. Low control guarantees the highest performance from your people. The more you let go of, the more time you have to do what really matters. The more you coach, empower, and encourage, the more leadership opportunities you’ll have. People want to follow leaders who trust them and give out accountability and responsibility. Your role as a leader needs to be less about what you do and more about what your people do.

Leaders inspire others to become the best they can be. Not tell, not do, but inspire. Instead of being a control freak, be an inspirer, an encourager, a motivator, and a coach. Try drawing a circle the size of a quarter. Then, write all the things in the circle that you think you can’t let go of. You will discover that there’s really nothing you can’t delegate except vision, values, and setting clear goals and targets. Everything else can be delegated with enough staff and resources. Obviously, smaller business owners and managers can’t let go of everything, but they can delegate at least half of what they do right now, especially if they have a few good people working for them.

Take the test

Write out the few things you absolutely can’t delegate. And then list the top twenty things you can let go of. Make it a goal to delegate one item on the list every week. You’ll be amazed how excited your people will be to accept new responsibilities and become accountable. Then your job will be to watch them go and make a difference.

Business - Commercial Construction Industry

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This article contains general information only. Sunflower Bank is not, by means of this article, rendering accounting, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This article is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, before making any decisions related to these matters, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.