Empower your team to make decision

Team Kritikalhire

April 22nd, 2023   
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Empowering your team to make decisions is a highly motivational tool in the hands of the manager. The results are multiple: increased sense of ownership and higher productivity. The manager is also paving the path for the future growth of the desirous employees willing to take this responsibility.

No single employee can guarantee the success of an organization, and it is always a focused 'team' that can ensure or increase the chances of emerging victorious. However, one seldom finds a manager who is willing to let go of the 'decision-making' privileges, which is considered a 'right of their position' in the organization.

Luis Velasquez and Kristin Gleitsman, in their article ‘How to Equip Your Team to Problem Solve Without You,' say that many managers often 'protect their team' in the belief that as their manager, they are responsible for ‘taking care’ of their team members. The manager does not want the team to be stressed by exposure to the organization’s pressures and challenges. This may be with good intentions but does not gel well for the manager in the long run. In the course of trying to be good and avoid taking additional work pressure, the manager will come across as being a 'deterrent' or 'blocker' of new initiatives, thereby affecting their own image within the organization. Luis and Kristin have coined a word for managers who display this kind of behavior – “umbrella managers”.

They further describe the characteristics of these ‘umbrella managers’ in their article. It includes; the manager feeling personally responsible for all decisions and being on top of all details. As a matter of fact, this is self-defeating in many ways. When responsibilities increase, the manager becomes a bottleneck in all decision-making processes, and things tend to get stuck or slow-moving. Another drawback is that the team neither gets to experience the learning of navigating through the storms nor do they see the big picture. The team will eventually be left invisible from the organization’s perspective, as the team is not positioned to form strong cross-functional relationships. It is, therefore, important for managers in high-growth organizations, especially when it is their first time, to quickly learn the skill where there is a balance between supporting the team and delegating effectively.

There are many ways wherein a manager can transform themselves from such a 'being protective' situation to 'selective delegation .'It is not that everything can be delegated to the team. An effective manager should be aware of what can be delegated and what must be retained with themselves.

The shift from a closed mindset to that of opening up to delegation is a challenging one. Luis and Kristin, suggest that the manager has to first overcome their own fears of letting go. Many managers hold on in the fear that delegation and empowering the team may cause the managers to be redundant. This insecurity has to be handled positively by the managers, whereby they should prepare themselves for more significant roles and opportunities within the organization. Another fear aspect is the confidence in whether the team can make decisions. This may be correct, but there has to be a start somewhere. If the manager wants to rise and explore new responsibilities, they have to take the risk of delegation and have faith in their team. The leadership skills of the manager are also put to the test here. In any organization, the upward push for the manager always comes from the team's rise in stature.

In their article, ‘Empowering your employees to make decisions,' the staff of Insperity adds a couple of points for a manager’s transformation to empowering the team to make decisions. As per them, there is empowerment once the manager places trust and offers freedom to the team. Employees will feel better at making decisions when exposed to experience and learning, especially when the company is in serious growth mode. It is not necessary that the ideal position would be reached immediately, but with feedback from the manager, things would gradually fall into place. Hence, in the delegation process, the manager will initially have oversight on the decisions that are allowed to be taken by the team and subsequently step back upon reaching a particular level of confidence. Another attribute is articulating clearly the decision-making guidelines. Be clear on what is being delegated to the team. It need not be a formal document but at least an understanding of what decisions the team can make since the manager will be ultimately responsible for the decisions the team makes. Thus, an effective manager should exercise prudence while delegating. Also, explain the reason for the delegation, which is to show the team's involvement in the organization's growth.

As it is often said, 'change is the only constant.'It applies universally to everyone and in every field. And change is often resisted. To grow, change is a must, and how one accepts, appreciates, and embraces it is up to the individual. A manager to pull themselves up will have to adopt the delegation management style for their benefit by allaying all their fears in a controlled manner. This will be the first step towards reinventing the self to be an effective leader.


  1. How to Equip Your Team to Problem Solve Without You by Luis Velasquez and Kristin Gleitsman (https://hbr.org/2023/03/how-to-equip-your-team-to-problem-solve-without-you)
  2. Empowering your employees to make decisions by Insperity Staff (https://www.insperity.com/blog/build-bench-empower-team-make-great-decisions/)
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