Learn How To Utilize Your Followers
As a leader the biggest favor that you can do for yourself is to learn how to utilize the people who follow them. If you are a leader trust me, this is the best favor that you can do for yourself. I learned as a young officer in the military that the people who worked under me were skilled, knowledgeable, and adept at what they knew how to do. My job was to motivate them in order to get their best effort and to supply them with the time, planning, and resources that they needed in order to do their jobs proficiently.
There is a fine line that you have to maintain in that your subordinates have to know that they have the freedom to make decisions but at the same time they need to know just how far that they can go. If you stifle their ideas you will stifle their motivation. I found that you have to allow them room enough to be comfortable in their decision making. Sometimes they will make a decision which will cause you some serious problems but most of the time they will make you shine. The absolute worst thing that you can do is stifle their creativity.
There were many times that I was the beneficiary of the choices that my subordinates made. I remember several incidents where I wouldnt have done anything but when I allowed my subordinates to make the call it certainly made me look good. On one occasion I received a letter of commendation for an action that one of my subordinates showed initiative enough to take.
You are not the smartest person in the world. If you are the leader you have people assigned to you who are more skilled or intelligent or both in at least one or more areas. Learn how to cultivate them to use their minds to get the job done. This will make whatever operation that you have more efficient and will save you a ton of heartaches over the long run.
When you have the subordinate to make a bad decision it is not always necessary to berate them for it. The time will certainly come that they will see you make a mistake. Show them why the decision was not a good one and make sure that they understand the factors that they overlooked or misinterpreted which caused the decision to be wrong. When you do this you take care of the problem and you dont dampen their enthusiasm in the process.
People respond negatively if you are constantly looking over their shoulder. Now I must admit that sometimes you just have to do this but if you dont have to avoid it by all means. Yes check if you have to but I feel that the best way to handle people who are competent is to lay out the plan, give them your requirements and the time table and allow them to handle the situation. I have learned that you must make this plan perfectly clear to them at the time that you present it. Make sure that there is no doubt about any of its provisions and that they not only know the plan but share in your concept of implementation.
I learned this as a line military officer. Many times during battles I would lose communications with my subordinates so I couldnt get an accurate assessment as to exactly what they were doing. In one such incident I lost contact with my forward observer who had the responsibility of keeping his eyes on the main avenue of approach of the attacking force. His job was to begin to engage them with artillery and air support as soon as he saw them. Even though I didnt know whether he was dead or alive he did a beautiful job because he had no doubt as to what was expected of him. He didnt need for me to hold his hand to get results. Riceland Enterprises
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