When you’re given a leadership position, there will be a big announcement. Then your people will see you as the boss and obey your every command, right?
But it doesn’t mean they’ll trust you.
If you’re new to leadership, you’ll find that with the title you have authority. You can do things to advance the objectives of the organization or you can make choices that throw the organization off course.
That’s a big responsibility.
With your title comes the power to tell others what to do. But until you earn your people’s trust, you’ll find that you are dictating to them. If you’re doing this, you haven’t yet won their trust.
Dictating is a two-edged sword. One side of the sword is making sure things get done. You assign preparation to one, for example, and delivery to another. The other side is making decisions. You’ll be tempted to make them all. You may lead by doing this, but you also take away any chance of team engagement.
You’ve probably heard of Moses, the Jew who led God’s people out of Egypt. You may have seen his story portrayed in The Prince of Egypt. As he was leading the people in the wilderness between Egypt and the Promised Land, his father-in-law Jethro noticed something: Moses was the sole judge of the land.
People came to Moses to have their disputes settled. His counsel wasn’t necessarily bad. In fact, it was probably very good. But Jethro saw that Moses needed some counsel of his own. Moses had become so busy solving everyone’s problems, he was worn out.
Jethro told Moses the best thing he could do was to delegate some of the problem solving to others and reserve the big ones for himself.
Position is good, but if you dictate and think for everyone, you’ll get burnt out. If you want to earn trust, listen to your people. Empower them to solve some of their own problems themselves. Have them find the cause of the problem and look at possible solutions. If the best solution doesn’t arise, then have them come to you.
If you want to move from dictating to leading, empower your people. Lead by showing them what the finished product should be and leave room for them to find the best way there.
What you’ll earn is trust.
Trust is something dictators never enjoy.