In all my years teaching and developing new leaders, the neatest trick I ever tried involved managers who were stuck making every decision for their teams. No matter how many leadership development books they read or management training resources they studied, they were simply better decision makers than the group they supervised — that’s why they became managers and the others didn’t. They understood that their subordinates were closer to the problems, but they couldn’t persuade them to make any of the decisions.
Surprisingly, it only required printing a small sign to change the team dynamics and force decisions down the org chart:
The quickest way to truly empower your team to make decisions on their own is to put a sign on your office door that reads:
This office is always open to anyone looking for help with a problem. Before entering, please complete the following four steps:
Step 1: Clearly detail your problem in writing.
Step 2: Define two or three possible solutions.
Step 3: Choose your favorite.
Step 4: If you still need to see me, please return to Step 1.
Live this, and be prepared to celebrate a few failures, and you’ll find it to be the most effective empowerment tool ever.