Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

How to Give Employees Independence Without Losing Control Every business owner knows how to wear a lot of hats. But at some point you have to stop being a control freak. With a nod to Independence Day, here are three tips to empower your team's ideas.

By Nadia Goodman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

How to Give Employees Independence Without Losing Control

Every business owner knows how to wear a lot of hats. When first striking out on your own, you have a hand in finances, marketing, product design, and everything in between. But as your company grows, you need to empower your employees to feel that same sense of independence.

Autonomy is one of our fundamental human needs--an essential component of a healthy workplace. "It fills our need for intrinsic motivation," says Ben Dattner, an organizational psychologist and founder of Dattner Consulting. By that he means our need to be driven by personal interest and enjoyment.

Employees that feel empowered are happier, more motivated, more committed to their jobs, and less stressed. The latter is especially true for demanding workplaces since independence gives workers a sense of control in stressful situations.

The benefits for business owners are clear: "[Greater autonomy] can lead to lower turnover and higher levels of creativity, innovation, and even performance," says Dustin Jundt, an organizational psychologist at Saint Louis University.

Consider these three tips to give employees independence without giving up control:

1. Specify the goal, not the means. "As you grow, you don't want the organization to be so hierarchical that it can't be adaptive," Dattner says. "You want people to experiment and make game-time decisions."

To encourage creativity, give clear guidelines for a project's quality, deadline, and purpose, but leave the rest up to your employees. Your team may not execute the project exactly as you would have, but their strategy may be just as good or better.

Related: A Secret to Creative Problem Solving

2. Set up checks and balances. As a business owner, you need to be passionate about your ideas, but that enthusiasm can become a liability when there's no room for second opinions.

"Every leader is subject to biases and errors," Dattner says. "You need to build in mechanisms for being proven wrong and allow the freedom to debate other strategies." To do that, avoid surrounding yourself with "yes-men."

"You want confident advisors who will push back and help vet your ideas rather than validating your own rose-tinted glasses," Dattner adds.

Related: Dermalogica's Jane Wurwand on the Creative Process

3. Know yourself. As you allow others more freedom and responsibility, understanding yourself can help ease the transition.

"You have to be pretty secure to say, I'm going to hire a finance person who has more experience in finance than I do and I won't understand everything they're doing," Dattner says. Try taking a free, online personality test recommended by Dattner to assess your strengths and weaknesses. The online test was created in the 1990s by a psychology professor at Penn State University, DuBois. A free app version, iPsy also became available in 2011.

It's important to understand your own feelings and have a sense of what others are experiencing around you, which is referred to as emotional intelligence. You can then identify what motivates each of your employees and empower them in ways they'll find fulfilling.

Nadia Goodman is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, NY. She is a former editor at YouBeauty.com, where she wrote about the psychology of health and beauty. She earned a B.A. in English from Northwestern University and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. Visit her website, nadiagoodman.com.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business News

TikTok Reportedly Laid Off a 'Large Percentage' of Employees as the App's Fate in the U.S. Remains Unclear

Laid-off TikTok employees were notified Wednesday night through Thursday morning.

Personal Finance

This Investment Bundle Includes a Trading Course and Stock Screener Tool for $150

Approach the stock market with an increased understanding.

Business News

Four Seasons Orlando Responds to Viral TikTok: 'There's Something Here For All Ages'

The video has amassed over 45.4 million views on TikTok.

Growing a Business

5 Strategies to Know As You Scale Your Business

Scaling a service-based company requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond simply increasing revenue. It requires careful planning, strategic decision-making and a deep understanding of market dynamics.

Growing a Business

The Right Way to Ask Someone for a Million Dollars, According to a Fundraiser Who Does It For a Living

No matter what you're raising money for, Wanda Urbanskia says, the same basic rules apply.