I believe this to be a leadership truism: Holding people accountable for their results can only happen if they are given reasonable autonomy to make decisions that they believe will positively impact results.

I’ll go even further and say that in my many years of experience working in and with retailers, I have seen that the results achieved are in direct proportion to the level of empowerment leaders have to make decisions.

So, why are we still not great at empowering our people to make decisions in the best interest of the business?

A hangover of the command and control leadership model that dominated business for many decades. This results from static business processes and systems that have not evolved in line with how we work now. A lack of trust in team members. Not enough time to implement the changes needed to empower our people?

These are all understandable reasons that continue to hold back empowerment.

The consequences of leaders who are not empowered to make decisions extend from missed targets to demotivated teams who won’t stick around and feel unable to grow, which ultimately chips away at morale.

I’ll be covering ‘How to empower leaders to make more and better decisions’ in my forthcoming book, including how we can use data and store results to support area leaders in effective decision-making. But you don’t have to wait for the book to start making a difference in how decisions are made in your business.

Here’s my lived and learned experiences of how to empower your leaders:

● Be extremely clear about the role and expectations – this can then be evolved to incorporate specifics around the decisions that can be made at each level of the business.

● As their leader give regular feedback on their performance through effective one-on-ones. Provide time and space for people to share what’s working and what’s not so you can support and guide them. This is also a great way to ensure your expectations are clear.

● Have a way for your area leaders to share ideas and contribute to the business’s overall strategy. Make sure everyone knows and feels connected to the business vision.

● Use your knowledge and expertise to provide specific training and development so your area leaders can grow and improve.

● Reality check – You may think your area leaders know they are empowered to make decisions, but have you ever checked if that’s how they feel? You’ll be amazed at the disconnect!

Empowered leaders feel valued and motivated and take ownership of their results, leading to higher performance. Empowerment has the power to transform.