Thank you for joining the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast! Last month, we talked about how important both clarity and trust are in creating an empowering culture. In today’s episode, we’ll build on that idea a little more.
What we value determines what we do. The number one force that shapes your culture is your values. So, when you guard your values above all else, you can surrender more control to the people you lead. When they have more control, your team gains freedom to create within the values you’ve set in place.
Sometimes, as leaders, we think there’s no way someone could do the job as well as we can. Is that a leader’s mindset? No! A leader says, “Eventually, the right person will do it better than I ever could!” Most leaders delegate tasks. The best leaders delegate authority.
When you delegate authority, what you’re doing is giving your leaders an opportunity to grow. When you tell them exactly what to do, you’re just controlling them. The reality is this: you can have control or you can have growth, but you can’t have both.
If you empower the right people, there is no limit to what your organization can accomplish. But if you don’t empower the right people, you are the limiting factor in your organization! The strength of your organization is not a reflection of what you control. It’s a reflection of who you empower and trust.
One company that does an extraordinary job empowering their employees is Zappos. They tell their employees to provide the absolute best customer service—that’s the clarity. How their employees chase that mission that is up to the employees—that’s the trust. Some Zappos employees have felt so empowered, they:
- Physically went to a competitor’s store to buy out-of-stock shoes for a customer.
- Sent a free pair of shoes overnight to a best man who arrived at a wedding with no dress shoes.
- Sent a customer flowers when they found out her feet were hurting after wearing Zappos shoes.
Does extending clarity and trust mean that your team members won’t make mistakes? Of course not! But it’s better to see aggressive, faith-filled mistakes than passive, safe ones. One of the Life.Church values is this: We are big-thinking, bet-the-farm risk takers. We will never insult God with small thinking or safe living. Be a leader who takes risks because you believe in your team enough to trust them with your values.
Remember, you don’t have to know it all to be a great leader! Be yourself. People would rather follow a leader who is always real than one who is always right.
Here's an exercise you can do to grow as a leader—ask yourself and your team these questions:
- What are three things you are doing now that you can delegate to someone on your team?
- What are some decisions that only you can make? Now name at least three categories of other decisions you will delegate immediately.
As a supervisor, I find it difficult to terminate or discipline a team member because I know my decision has a huge effect of their personal life. Even though a team member may be toxic to the organization, I still care about them. What advice do you have for me? – Justin
Every good leader cares about people. To be increasingly effective as a leader and loving as a person, we want to grow in this area. You probably care about each team member getting better, not just the toxic or troubled one—you care about the healthy and productive ones, too. But if you’re not dealing with the toxic one, you are being very unloving to the healthy ones.
Here is what changed in my mindset: having a developmental or disciplinary conversation is not an uncaring thing. Not having that conversation is an uncaring thing. When you really care about a person, you care enough to tell the truth. When you have that conversation, be specific about what needs to improve, and give a fair deadline to see the improvement. Give them the tools they need to succeed, and meet regularly to monitor their progress.
If you have a problem person, as the leader, it’s your responsibility to help that team member improve. If you can’t help that team member improve, then it’s your responsibility to make a change. If you don’t deal with the problem team member, they are no longer the problem—you become the problem.
As a young pastor, I know it’s vital that I get regular, constructive feedback on everything from how I preach, to how I lead, and even how I follow. How do I increase the constructive feedback I receive and raise the temperature on this in our culture? – Ben
Great question. All feedback is not created equal! There are some people who will be way more helpful than others. The problem is, at first, you may not know whose feedback will be valuable. Let me give you three suggestions:
- Ask a few hand-picked people specific questions. Don’t just ask for feedback after you lead a meeting or give a talk. Ask before the meeting or talk for specific feedback after you finish.
- Narrow it down to the people who are most helpful. Ask them for regular feedback, and develop a team of people you can count on.
- Don’t limit feedback to after the fact. Consider asking ahead of time.
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