Delegation and empowerment are not separate states but are a continuum; delegation is a step towards fully empowering your team members. By delegating to your team members, you are initiating their empowerment. Delegating also provides you with more resources to complete the tasks for which you are responsible. This is because the more people you involve, the more manpower you have, and the more time and skills there are available to complete the task.
This matrix is designed to allow you to assess the type of management that your team members need. It is based on the idea that empowerment occurs gradually (rather than being an immediate process) and that delegation is part of that process. In order to gauge the appropriate level of autonomy to give individuals, decide whether they have a high or low skill and motivation level, and if they have a high or low level of authority and responsibility.
“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit”Andrew Carnegie
Selecting the most appropriate style
There are different styles of management that you can adopt but only certain ones will be applicable in empowering your team. Look at the matrix and identify where your team member is on both axes:
- If your team member has low skill and motivation, and high authority, you will be an ‘Abdicator’.
- Your team members already have a high level of authority, but you need to develop their skills before they can move forwards. If you do not do this, you will end up abdicating responsibility before your team members have the required skills to cope.
- If your team member has a high skill and motivation, and low authority, you will be an ‘Autocrat’.
- You currently retain a high level of control over your highly skilled and, possibly, frustrated team members, as they have little authority and autonomy. You need to seek opportunities to increase your team members’ authority
- If your team member has low skill and motivation, and low authority, you will be a ‘Leader’.
- Your team members are possibly new to the team/ task. You should give them instruction and direction, to ensure that they feel secure.
- If your team member has moderate skill and motivation, and moderate authority, you will be a ‘Partner’.
- You and your team should operate in partnership to make decisions and carry out the appropriate actions.
- If your team member has high skill and motivation, and high authority, you will be a ‘Supporter’.
- You should act as a coach or mentor to your team members, giving help and advice only when it is asked for.
How do you move from delegation to empowerment?
In moving from delegation to full empowerment, the ideal path for you to take is to move from ‘Leader’ (your current style), through ‘Partner’ (your transition phase style) to ‘Supporter’ (the preferred style for empowerment). If either the ‘Abdicator’ or ‘Autocrat’ style is present for any length of time, it will lead to team member dissatisfaction and a drop in motivation and productivity
Team members working with autocrats may have a higher skill level than they are given the opportunity to display. This tends to lead to them looking elsewhere for development opportunities.
Team members working with ‘Abdicators’ are simply given too much responsibility too soon. They are put in a sink or swim situation without being taught how to swim.
Please note, that you will need to empower your teams gradually with support and guidance at each stage. This takes time and patience if you are going to be successful.
Additional reading you might enjoy:
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Hi! I`m Chris Webb, I live in the South East and started Leaders Retail Consultancy in 2019. Before freelancing, I was a senior retail leader for a number of the UK’s top retailers gaining experience over 23 glorious years. When I am not coaching I enjoy spending time with the family or in the gym.
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