Sergeant Major Alford McMichael was the most senior enlisted Marine from 1999 to 2003, serving as the fourteenth Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. In his book, Leadership, he writes, "one of the most fundamental aspects of effective leadership is leveraging power by distributing it among your people". The necessity to teach and train your people to take initiative is on your shoulders as a leader. You will restrict your growth potential if every decision must be cleared through one choke point.
Your hiring process includes finding the best and the brightest to help execute the vision and mission of the organization. If top talent is brought onboard and not given the chance to exercise their capabilities then everyone loses. A lever is a powerful tool that can move mountains and properly enabled your team can achieve the impossible. Giving the authority to make decisions and impact the end user at the lowest level places the lever in the hands that can influence the greatest change. This freedom provides the quickest response to the customer and a sense of ownership for those working the process.
No doubt, you have experienced the micro-managing organization at some point in your life and encountered the stifling effects that ripple through the organization. Controlling all elements of the activity feels safe, but is safe really the goal if it hamstrings the organization for fear of something going wrong? The reality is that things will go wrong, the difference is the strong army of dedicated and empowered people that are invested and want the achieve the vision vs, the cogs punching the clock because of a lack of ownership. Vibrant health or a safe death, the choice is in your hands.
Going Further: What do you think and feel about relinquishing control and driving authority deeper into the team? When have you seen it work well? How has this process failed and why did it fail? How do you evaluate the effectiveness of empowering your team? Who is someone you can enlist to help enact needed changes? What is one element of authority you can empower a team member this week?