6 Questions Smart Leaders Ask Themselves When Giving Ownership

Partially wilted sunflower.

Over-helpful leaders are surrounded by incompetent followers.

#1. What is my attitude about letting go of things?

Leaders who are reluctant to give ownership always end up doing other people’s work.

People are slow to take ownership when you are reluctant to give it.

Most of us learn to let go only after we’re overwhelmed.

#2. What are my first responses to the failure of others?

Consolation shields people from responsibility. Compassion is a beautiful thing if it doesn’t promote irresponsibility.

Know the difference between resonating with people’s distress and taking responsibility for someone’s job.

#3. How frequently am I being a fixer?

It’s natural to rush to fix, but it’s detrimental when competent teammates are the object of your efforts.

The damning implication fixers make is others are incompetent.

People who feel incompetent are terrified of responsibility.

Competence loves to fix its own mistakes and face its own challenges. If your child protests, “I’ll do it myself,” you’re insulting their perceived competence.

Fixing belittles; resonating encourages.

#4. How frequently am I answering the same question?

When new employees ask questions, give them answers. When new employees repeat the same question ask, “What needs to be true for you to move forward without my help?”

Over-helpful leaders are surrounded by incompetent followers.

#5. How often am I warning about what could go wrong?

Overprotection promotes weakness.

Along with explaining what could go wrong, overprotective leaders avoid tough conversations.

#6. How frequently do I expect check-ins?

The real term for frequent check-ins is micromanaging.

When you’re alone, are you thinking about what you should do or what others should do?

When you ask questions, how frequently do you already know the ‘right’ answer?

Tip: When giving ownership for the first time ask, “What needs to be true for you to own this job?”

What makes giving ownership difficult?

What are you doing to help others take ownership?