As a leader in business, I do not expect (nor do I want) managers to always make the same decision as I would in any given situation. How limiting and dangerous would that be?
I believe that a variety of perspective among capable people will eventually lead to the best possible decisions. In order to nurture a sense of ownership and to fuel confidence, empowering managers and employees in decision making is critical to getting the best results. I’m always encouraged when I hear teams in a heated, passionate exchange without my direct involvement. I walk by those meetings in the office with a big smile on my face. That signals “buy-in” and sense of ownership. If a leader can drive a team of capable people to that point, ideas and strategy will be effectively refined. A vision, a culture shouldn’t be about one person, but about a collective group. That’s the exponential secret to human ingenuity. That’s why empowering decision-making throughout an organization is so important.
Of course, you can’t have just a free-for-all environment without some guidelines. There needs to be structure around the empowerment bestowed on the team. For me with my leadership team, I ask that they clearly understand our business goals and priorities. Then, I ask that they understand what my thought process would be in most situations. In the end even if the decisions go in a different direction, I’ll still be supportive.
I want to leverage the collective intelligence of the whole team. In order to do that, I need to create an environment that enables people to take ownership and risks in decisions being made every day. Having people around who mimic me serves very little value to the organization. Having people who think through how we normally come to a decision but then formulate compelling reasons for a better decision, that’s invaluable.