I’m going to get to the bottom line here really quickly. If you don’t trust your staff then you are in big trouble.
Problems that can arise from not trusting your staff include but are not limited to…
- You doing their work as well as your own because you do not trust them to come to the right conclusion. You have not got time for that.
- You letting them do their work but limiting their remit compared to the original job description because you don’t think they are fully up to it. They could feel bored and underappreciated.
- Staff who feel like you do not trust them and so feel and work less as part of a team.
- Work being homogenised in order to maintain standards. Lack of creative freedom within a job can make the work boring and the resulting product or service can seem run of the mill and standard.
The big question then is, what would your company be like if you trusted every member of your staff to deliver? Take some time to think about this. Would feeling able to trust everyone on your team make a difference to the way you ran your business?Would it make a difference to the products or services that you sold?
It can be hard handing over the reins, especially when it’s your name on the door. Start small. Maybe if you oversee every part of every project you start by picking a section that you know you don’t need to be a part of, once you gain more confidence in your team you’ll be able to hand over larger portions of the responsibility and start taking on different jobs yourself. Alternatively start big and, for example, let staff set their own working hours.
Pick your success criteria and be clear and honest with your team. If you are letting them run with a small part of a larger project then give clear expectations and deadlines. We will need x, y and z, drafted and ready for our team meeting next Thursday in order to get the final draft ready for approval at the executive meeting the following week. Give the bigger picture so that everyone understands where they fit in. Or, if you are making a larger working shift, using my previous example, outline expectations regarding response to clients, required presence in the office and deadlines. These, or similar, are your success criteria and by sharing them your staff will know exactly what is expected of them.
Or take it one step further and talk to your staff about this. Offer to take a step back and ask where they would like more freedom. The responses might be surprising and it is an additional way to show your team that you trust them.