Leadership: How Are You Empowering Others?

February 27, 2014 11:53 PM

By: Tracey Erickson, SDSU Dairy Field Specialist

In a recent conversation with my husband we were comparing organizations that we are each involved in. I was expressing my frustration with a new leadership role that I had taken on and was wishing that I had some additional guidance as to what is expected in regards to the position. Yes, there was some instruction of responsibilities, listed in the by-laws but it was more the "un-written" expectations of the position that were unknown. What was needed was the month to month and some day to day, responsibilities such as "you will need to complete these tasks by such and such date" that I really needed to know if I was going to be successful in my new leadership position.

Too often, we fail to communicate and adequately train others when we attempt to empower them in leadership positions. What results often is frustration of both parties part, along with a potential malfunction within the organization.

Unfortunately, this also happens within places of employment as well as organizations. One step to resolve this is to start a log of either daily or monthly activities for the position, as well as some detail of how to perform the task and who to contact if there are questions. As one develops a log of the expected duties you will be able to pass this information unto the person, and help insure performance as expected. This information can be utilized in many different ways. First it allows for development of a job description for a position or a leadership role. Secondly, it can serve as a template for a training plan for employees or a checklist of expected responsibilities of a leadership position. Third, it can also serve as a guide in the development of Standard Operating Procedures for various tasks. Lastly, it will also assist in the development of evaluation standards for a position.

Once you have developed the template of responsibilities and decided how you will best utilize the information it is critical to take the time to pass the information unto the person. Training people can be broken down into five simple steps: 1) Show- them what is expected and how to perform the desired task. 2) Practice – allow the person to practice what you have just taught them. 3) Observe – them performing the job, taking note of what they are doing correctly and areas that may need improvement. 4) Praise – provide positive feedback when the desired performance is achieved. 5) Retrain- if the desired performance is not achieved or if a person slips back into "old habits" and is not following protocols (modified from Blanchard, 1994).

You will be amazed how well people can perform when those in leadership positions take the time to enable others with desired expectations for the job and then empower them to accomplish it.

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