Each level in an organization is in need of support. The top of the org chart needs everyone below (and many others – they just may not be on a “chart”), and the levels below need all those above and below. Efficiency is achieved when we allow those capable of taking on more responsibility to do so. They must be capable, which is usually the reason for hesitation. Every leader has witnessed both failure and success in giving more responsibility to others, and unfortunately the examples of failure are painful enough for us to hoard the responsibility rather than continuing to give others a chance. However, leaders must be resilliant in order to keep growing. We must accept that there will be both success and failure along the way, and never let the points of failure stop us from forward progress. If there is a need in the organization and if capable individuals exist (smart, proactive, passionate, experienced, loyal/dedicated, hard working, etc.), we must continue providing opportunities – even if we have to find new ones.
Here are a couple of good check up questions to ask ourselves:
– Are we hoarding more responsibility than necessary because of fear?
– What responsibilities would be better handled by others?
– Who is capable of much more, and wants it?
People want to learn and grow (at least the types we desire to have on our team) and can actually become demotivated if they are not given the opportunity to do so. And ironically, leaders can become burnt out and demotivated by not changing and shifting some of the responsibility where it makes sense. The benefit in pushing responsibility to the lowest level is two-fold. Leaders benefit because it helps free them up to focus on developing new initiatives to help the organization grow, while potential leaders need it to gain experience and grow to the next level. It is a win/win and when we stop doing it, the organization is at risk of becoming stagnant.