When one of our employees is the new person working on a project, it’s natural for them to seek the approval of their colleagues, who have been there longer. While there is certainly a time for observing, a good leader can dissipate that fear and bring the best out of their team. The Harvard Business Review writes about one worker’s epiphany that helped her trust herself:
But when she pressed [her boss] for more specifics, [he] simply said, “I trust you to continue doing what you do so well, and I expect you’ll ask for my help if you need it.”
In that moment, she realized something profound: He was telling her that she was free. She was in charge of her own considerable domain — and her own life. Somehow, amid the pressures to meet operational goals and balance budgets, she had failed to notice the full implications of that shift.
She wanted to make sure she understood correctly. “You mean to say that I can push the envelope as far as I want, as long as I believe it is in the best interest of the company, and you’ll tell me when I’ve gone too far?”
He nodded his agreement. She was buoyed by the possibilities that her newfound freedom presented, and at the same time, she felt the weight of the responsibility this change implied. Before she even made it to the door, Karen started thinking about how she could take ownership — and advantage — of this situation.
This article originally appeared on 99u.com.
Sean Blanda is the managing editor of 99u.com.