Trust, But Verify
By Christina Inmon, Atticus Resource Advisor
Are you dreaming about lying on a beach in Hawaii, touring castles in Ireland, or maybe skiing in Vancouver? What’s stopping you from booking that trip? I suspect that one of the main reasons you haven’t purchased those tickets is that you fear what will happen to your firm while you’re enjoying the fruits of your labor.
This is where developing a trusted, high-performance team is critical to how your firm operates when you’re not present. In order for members of your staff to earn your trust, you must first teach them by methodically and gradually providing them with opportunities to do so. Teaching your staff your processes and your expectations, and at the same time steadily empowering and trusting them through effective delegation, will allow you to maintain some level of control and bring you peace of mind.
We recommend instituting the following levels of trust in your office to enable you to monitor the growth of each team member, while increasingly providing them with opportunities to work on more complex tasks. Implementing these four levels as you delegate tasks will teach your staff members how to become reliable employees. Progressing through these four levels with your team members will also give you the confidence that you can trust them.
LEVEL ONE: Staff to bring you the facts and you will decide.
LEVEL TWO: Staff to bring you the facts but should apply critical thinking and bring a recommendation as well. This allows for their development and your assessment of their current skills. Be sure to allow the staff member time to discuss his or her recommendation with you. At this level, you still decide.
LEVEL THREE: Permit your experienced staff member to gather the facts, apply critical thinking and make a decision, but he or she needs to report back to you.
LEVEL FOUR: The ultimate level of trust is when you allow your senior level staff members to make a decision and run with it. At this level you do not expect your staff member to report back to you. You have learned to trust their decision-making skills because he or she has proven themselves time and again.
At the first three levels listed above, it is important to provide constructive feedback along with a little encouragement. It’s also critical to insist they make the modifications you deem necessary. If you’re teaching them about a task that will be repeated often, remember to not fix what they’ve done. If they don’t make the corrections themselves, they’ll never learn.
Although one of your goals may be spending time on that beach, that castle, or on that slope, the ultimate reward is to be able to trust your team to deliver a high degree of service to your clients while you’re gone.
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