Many of us who rise in the ranks to hold supervisory positions do so because we’re extremely driven and passionate about what we do. Unfortunately, that tends to come with a side of being slightly controlling. In the moment, it often seems easier to take the reins and just do it yourself rather than delegate to an employee who isn’t entirely certain what you want or who hasn’t done what you’re asking them to do as often as you have. However, it’s simply impossible to do everything yourself. Delegation is key to success. And the key to successfully delegating is in learning how to trust your employees.
In theory, it sounds easy. After all, you (or someone you trust) hired them, so they have to be capable of doing their job, right? In reality, supervisors tend to be more experienced than employees, and it can be stressful to hand over responsibility for an important task to an employee who isn’t as experienced with you.
Developing a Rapport
Start by building and maintaining good, appropriate relationships with your employees. In order to trust them, you need to be able to understand who they are and how they tick. This not only helps you decide whether you should trust them, but also makes it easier to help them build their skills (by allowing you to understand how they learn, what motivates them, etc) which in turn allows you to build them into highly skilled and highly dependable employees.
Helping Them Trust You
Trust goes both ways. You need to feel confident that your employees are passionate about and good at their jobs, but they need to trust that you’re always going to be there to help them to become even better at their jobs. If employees see that you’re dedicated to the work and available to them, or that you’re always visible working just as hard as you’ve asked them to work, they’re more likely to rise to your expectations.
Ensuring Thorough Training
If your crew is small enough, ensure that they’re all being well-trained by making sure that you’re checking in routinely. If your crew is small enough, consider training a few employees yourself just to make sure they’re learning how to do things the way you want them done.
However, after a certain point you also have to consider…
Once you’ve developed a rapport with an employee and you’re confident that they’re well-trained, consider taking a chance on them. Give them the reins on a smaller project and see where they go with it. Provide guidelines, but let them follow their instincts. If your instincts about them are right, then they’ll likely rise to the challenge. The key takeaway here is that by putting in the work to help your employees grow into the responsibilities you expect of them, you’re reducing the amount of work you’ll have to do in the future by ensuring that they’re capable of handling whatever you need them to handle. Not only that, but developing a strong relationship with your employees improves their ability to trust in you, leading to a more harmonious workplace and improving the quality of everyone’s work.