Is Your Team Screaming For A Little Authority?

Buying a new car should be an exciting, fun experience, right? I was hoping that something had changed since my last new car purchase, 10 years ago, but alas, I was WRONG!


My Saturday was a total beat-down. It was NOT fun and I was ready to just walk away from the whole idea of a new car. Instead, I resorted to a two-hour nap to try to recover my lost energy and enthusiasm.

Why was it such a whippin’?

Because the salesperson was not given the authority and tools to negotiate a deal directly and we had to do this back-and-forth dance with “the manager.” I felt really bad for our salesperson … it was like asking a child a question and he had to keep going to the parent to get the OK before providing an answer. It sent the message that he couldn’t think for himself or couldn’t be trusted enough to provide information or agreeing to terms before it being screened by an adult!

It reminded me how employees must feel when they are micromanaged and not given the right resources/tools to get their job done. When the manager doesn’t support the employee in this way and limits the employee’s authority in making decisions, the efforts of making a customer (internal or external) happy are severely limited.

It slows down the process and often irritates everyone involved!

Yes – proper training and direction needs to be provided by the manager, but once an employee understands what to do and the desired results, get out-of-the-way!

Don’t be a bottle-neck … be a facilitator!

As a Manager, if you don’t have confidence in your team, you need to take ownership for either managing through a performance improvement plan or getting the right people in the role.

Once you’ve done that, outline your expectations and hand over the responsibility AND authority to get the job done. Make sure they understand the parameters of when you need to get involved and then let them do their job. ¬†Period!

Here’s what’s in it for you, the Manager:

  • Your time is freed up to work on more strategic work with broader implications.
  • Your employees have the opportunity to learn from new experiences and build better communication skills and an enhanced customer service mentality.
  • You may be developing your replacement so that you are better positioned for that next promotion.
  • YOU CAN TAKE VACATION because the department can effectively run without you!

When I see managers inserting themselves into the work that their staff should be able to handle on their own, here’s the message it sends:

  • I lack self-confidence
  • I have a need for power and control, (to make up for that lack of self-confidence)
  • I can’t possibly take on more responsibility because I’m too busy doing my employee’s job.

If any of this resonates with you … let go, pass around some authority and stop the madness! Your life, your employee’s lives and your customers will be much happier!

Martha Duesterhoft is a Partner with PeopleResults.  Follow her (in her new car) or on Twitter @mduesterhoft or connect via email at