A leader is a dealer in power. Real leaders know that the most damaging thing to any organisation is when people are frustrated by having severe constraints on their power – that is, they feel powerless. Power is very simply “the ability to act”. When a leader shares power, and pushes it down so that people can act within appropriate limits of authority, it assures that appropriate actions are taking quickly in order to solve problems, exploit opportunities and mitigate threats. Power is the organisation’s blood supply – it keeps it moving and energised and gets oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. However, when the arteries get blocked because of severe power constraints, it causes organisational aneurisms. One of the paradoxes of leadership is that the more the leader shares power, the more power he has – he has the power of many, rather than the power of one.
Using the Levels of Initiative below, decide at what level you want each team member to make decisions. Challenge yourself to make it one level higher than feels natural to you. If you are setting the level lower because a team member is learning, by when do you want them moving up a level? And up two levels? Now discuss your expectations with each team member and agree on how you will support them so that they are able to act with confidence..