You are responsible for leading people. But so much of your energy is wasted in shepherding people that often you as a leader are overstretched in your own work. This leads to inefficiencies and resentment. So, how do you create an engaged, high-performing team that you don’t have to micromanage?

Here are three practical things you can do to be a better boss and leader.

1) Give people permission to act.

No manager really wants to do the job of their employees. With increasing demands on time and output, we need everyone to be fully engaged in their work and take pride in their team.

So the best thing you can do is to give your team permission to act. What that means is giving them the power to make decisions they think are right for their job and the people they serve without having to run everything by you.

And when they make the decisions, back them up. This is how you build ownership.

[Related: Five Harsh Things Micro-Managing Might Say About You]

2) Give people permission to speak.

This one is easier said than done, but it is absolutely crucial in order to have a thriving team. Team members must be allowed to speak their minds with no fear of punishment. In a group meeting, everyone’s idea and dissension is fair game as long as they have supporting arguments.

For more sensitive topics, you can set boundaries. You can give them permission to come to you personally and air their disagreements. And again, no backlash from you – only invitation. This is how you build trust.

[Related: 4 Questions That Can Help You Build Your Leadership Presence]

3) Give people permission to fail.

Permission to fail is really permission to innovate. You can’t ask your employees to innovate and yet hold them responsible to a guaranteed outcome of success. No one really truly wants to fail; everyone wants to feel included and successful. If your staff knows they are not going to be hanged for failing, they will come up with more ingenious ideas for products and processes than you could think of by yourself. This is how you build confidence.

When you allow your team to innovate – which often means speaking up against established practices – you give them the opportunity to be truly engaged in the work they do. And when you allow them to act, you give them the opportunity to act on behalf of the vision you set for yourself and your team. You are creating ambassadors, not disgruntled employees.

So, go right ahead. Try these out. Have a conversation with your team and give them permission – to act, to speak, to fail. This may be the best kind of team-building you do this year.

This article originally appeared on

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