Don’t Hog the Spotlight

empower your people to shineThere’s an old saying that when your people look good, you look good. And it’s true. Great leaders consistently find opportunities to showcase their direct reports’ talents or abilities and put them front and center whenever possible.

Why should you do this?

First, it demonstrates confidence in your team. Second, it builds employee trust and loyalty. Third, it’s an effective delegation technique that frees up your time and energy, so you can invest more of those resources into other leadership-related responsibilities. Not only will your employees appreciate the attention and chance to sharpen their performance in the spotlight, but you will also benefit by building a legacy as a leader who never hogged the spotlight. It’s OK to be the star on stage when the moment calls for it, but start a new discipline of routinely sharing the limelight toward others who deserve it, too.

Here are a few opportunities in which you can empower your people to shine:

Meetings. It’s a common tendency for leaders to run — or take over — the show whenever they have a meeting. They simply feel like they need to take charge and “lead.” However, company meetings, either offsite or onsite, provide the perfect chance for attending employees to step up, speak up and manage certain agenda items or meeting aspects all on their own. They improve their presentation skills, take more ownership in their work, and, particularly if they’re talking about something that’s been successful, feel greater pride in their achievement. For example, let the person who was responsible for engineering a profit-producing customer-service solution talk about it versus you give the report. The overall impact will be far more effective coming from the source of the success as opposed to you.

Projects. Got a high-profile project that’s going to majorly impact the company? Challenge your people by assigning it to someone (or a team of employees) who is talented and could use some exposure. This might not be your usual go-to, senior staff member but someone else who has both the potential and passion to succeed. After all, many people have fast-forwarded their careers by accepting important projects others were afraid to do because the projects felt out of their league. Also, another way to increase exposure for your employees on projects is to assign them the role of providing project updates as opposed to you taking on this responsibility. So if a particular project really needs to be under your control, fine, keep it under your control. But do so more effectively by off-loading key responsibilities related to the project and assign someone else the job of monitoring how things are going. This is a super delegation technique that will save you much time, energy and even worry.

Company presentations. Consider how you can either involve another voice from your company or hand over the responsibility to that individual altogether. The same line of thinking would also be appropriate for web seminars or online teaching opportunities in which you choose to showcase your company’s talent — not just yourself, for example. Interestingly, your audience will not only enjoy hearing from someone else for a change, but they’ll admire your ability to step back as a leader and let others shine, too.

What are some other possible issues that you need to remember when sharing the spotlight with others?

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