“It is like they put a solar panel under a tree.” That was the phrase a CEO used to describe a project that was not living up to its full potential.
I think that same phrase can be used to describe what happens when leaders jump in and take too much control.
Leaders if they are not careful can overshadow something when it just starting to grow.
Nobody likes it when the boss takes over and starts to paint on their canvas.
When the leader jumps in and takes over, people will wonder why they should even bother. A culture of learned helplessness and lack of initiative starts to take root.
So leaders, set the direction. Set the expectations for outcomes. Set a system for measurement.
But resist the temptation to jump in and take over. Be ready to coach as needed when the inevitable adjustments need to occur.
Leaders need to be careful that the good ideas, projects, and initiatives that are being pursued have what they need to grow. And sometimes what they need is for leaders to take a step back and let people work.
Empowerment is the degree to which team members can control the nature and quality of their work. With guidance from a leader empowerment can expand and create better outcomes. The alternative is, well, shady.