Business leaders can be generous by sharing the success of their companies materially in the form of raises or bonuses, but there are many other ways to be generous. Followers appreciate it when leaders share credit, knowledge, and power, for instance. Being generous in attitude, by assuming that people act with positive intent, also creates a positive atmosphere in the workplace, making followers feel good and motivating them to do their best work.
Sharing power and authority by delegating responsibility is difficult for many managers. Delegation requires more than assigning tasks; it involves giving employees responsibility for certain segments of work. Andersen outlines a three-step process for delegation:
- Preparation: The manager defines the area of responsibility to be handed off and how much autonomy the employee will have.
- Discussion and agreement: The manager and employee reach an understanding of how the hand-off will take place. To help an employee develop new skills, a manager can designate different areas of responsibility in which he or she has higher or lower confidence of the employee’s ability to perform. The manager can require different levels of reporting for the high-confidence and low-confidence areas.
- Support: The manager gives the employee feedback. As the worker demonstrates more skill, the manager will hand over more responsibility or reduce oversight for those areas.
Generous leaders hand out praise, credit, positive feedback, and rewards to make employees feel valued and to inspire them to work harder. They also ensure that employees have the resources they need to do their jobs properly, including training, technology, and a safe place to work.