4 Signs You Aren’t Handing the Reins Over to Your Employees

Letting Go of The Reins Can Be Scary

You’re a great boss. You’ve mentored and guided your employees for years and you’ve finally gotten to a point where they can take the reins on their own – but are you doing enough to let them?

One of the criteria, I have mentioned in the past, that determines an employee’s satisfaction is autonomy. When an employee feels they can take on a responsibility and own it, not only are they happier and more engaged in their job, the more they are willing to take on even more.

Unfortunately, too many times, leaders and managers say they want to delegate and hand over responsibility, but their actions don’t really back up that up. And when the actions, don’t match the words, I bet you can guess which wins…the actions!

Here are a few common signs that maybe you haven’t yet handed off the responsibility, so you can work on making sure to recognize you might need to work on it. 

You’re talking about what you did instead of listening to how they want to do it.

You may have great ideas, but if you’re constantly talking about what you did instead of listening to what they want to do, it’s a sign that perhaps your employees aren’t as empowered as they could be.

Remember: The goal is for them to take ownership over their tasks and responsibilities so that they can become better at what they do. That comes with making mistakes along the way, but if your solution is always “I did this”, then there’s no room for their own process or improvement.

You’re comparing their results, with the results you achieved.

It’s important to keep in mind that you are not the same person you were when you started this business. You’ve grown and changed, but so will your employees. You weren’t able to achieve the results you got on the first try and neither will they. By comparing them to the results you achieved, you are indirectly telling them that they will likely never measure up, and I know that is not what you ultimately want.

Remember: The goal is for them is to see themselves succeeding in their new responsibilities.

You expect to be treated the same way

When you let go of a responsibility, it also means that you should be letting go of the decision making. If your employees are no longer coming to you for that decision and instead go to the person you delegated it to, this is a good thing. It doesn’t mean that they respect you and your opinions less and it doesn’t mean that you are no longer an authority figure. It simply means that they trust you in who you have delegated that responsibility to.

Remember: We want them to push us out of our boxes by treating us differently than before, but this can also go both ways! We will learn from our employees just as much as they learn from us, so it’s important not to let our egos get in the way.

You get irrationally angry when they do it different

It’s important to be open to new ideas. There is a difference between someone coming up with an innovative idea and them doing something just for the sake of being different. If you have an employee who is always trying out new ideas, don’t get upset when they do something different from what you would have done yourself. Instead, create a culture of trust and celebrate success. Empower your employees by giving them the space they need to try things out without fear of failure or retribution if things go awry.

Remember: If you want it done the way you would do it, then likely you will have to be the one to do it. Maybe its time for you to do the work you are meant to do with the time freed up in delegating this task. Focusing on what you are meant to do, will keep your focus where it needs to be.

If you find yourself comparing your employees’ performance to yours, or if you can’t seem to let go of the reins and allow them to make their own decisions, it might be time for a change. We’ve all been there—it takes work and patience to learn how to trust others. But trust us when we say it’s worth it: your team will thank you with stellar results!

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