As a leader or a manager, it’s your job to make decisions, right? Some, absolutely, but consider this… a large proportion of the decisions you are making may be holding your customers up, costing you valuable time, and ultimately contributing to staff disengagement.
Reflect for a moment on all the decisions you’ve made today, this week, this year. First, reflect on how many decisions you made around assessing, setting and validating your strategic direction, or your operating model in response to market changes, or where your growth will come from next year? These are certainly the decisions you should and must be engaged in – you should be living and breathing these. Now reflect on the rest… Were they related to interpreting policy, resolving a basic customer complaint, a price discount, positioning stock, designing a new product feature? If you’re a sole trader, you’re excused. For everyone else, ask yourself, how much time am I spending in this space? And if I am making these decisions, how are my staff feeling?… Is my intervention dis-empowering them from performing their roles end to end.
“…People who are empowered to make the decisions related to executing their roles, have higher job satisfaction, are more likely to stay with your organisation, are more fulfilled in their work, and more likely to deliver better outcomes for customers and your business…”
Chances are these operational decisions are not hard to determine, and most likely your staff know instinctively what the decision should be… if given the opportunity to think it through. Moreover, the vast majority of decisions referred to leaders and managers can easily be converted into a standard policy, discussed and trained with your staff, and utilised on demand by your people, on the spot with the customer.
There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that people who are empowered to make the decisions related to executing their roles, have higher job satisfaction, are more likely to stay with your organisation, are more fulfilled in their work, and more likely to deliver better outcomes for customers and your business.
The challenge for managers and leaders is to let go of the control, and trust that your people can, and will, make the decision you would make. This is where your policies are critical, not your processes or procedures. The time investment in developing and embedding coherent, end-to-end policies that capture the true intent and the boundaries around each customer interaction, process and decision point, will set your operation up to be a far more efficient, empowered and engaged work environment.
The payoff for leaders willing to implement this culture and capability, is reduced stress and precious time that can be reinvested into the forward thinking and critical directional and strategic decisions that keep the business competitive and ready for the next wave of change. You’ll also create time for the investment in development of your staff… so often overlooked or de-prioritised, but equally critical for your long-term viability.
It’s been said many times that “decisions are made by those who show up”. Just remember, you’re not the only one who showed up for work… your staff are already in position, and you’ve got other important things to do.