Business owners need to get a huge return on their time. Every year, your company sells, creates, performs, builds, produces, or manufactures products or services. So, you don’t have extra time to waste sweating all the small stuff. But you need great people who do! When entrepreneurs start their companies, they take care of everything themselves including hiring, supervising, purchasing, marketing, selling, pricing, managing, paying bills, and doing the work. You name it, if it has to be done, they do it - often until the wee hours of the night.
Find good help
To allow their companies to grow, many small business owners hire the best people they can find: their family and friends. Not the best idea, as it’s hard to build professional companies with inexperienced people who don’t respect their bosses. As they continue to gain more customers, more people are added to the staff. With more employees, they soon learn how hard it is to find anyone who’ll do work exactly the way they want it done. Nobody seems to care, be accountable or accept responsibility - except the boss.
When this happens, pressure mounts and many companies have trouble keeping good people. Hire people, put them to work and then watch them leave within the year. Not a good thing for the bottom line. Your job description changes from business owner to personnel complaint department. The business owner continues to search for answers to the people problem and look everywhere for the magic fix. Then fully frustrated, he tries a new approach: let go of daily decisions and try to delegate. But this is too uncomfortable so he takes back control again.
Look in the mirror
So, what’s holding your company back? Is it you? Perhaps you are the real problem as you continue to control everything and everybody. This poor leadership style holds people back from accepting responsibility and becoming accountable. When you make every decision, people can’t and don’t take on more responsibility. When you fix or solve problems for employees, they can’t be accountable. When you lead every meeting, managers don’t grow. When you approve every purchase, contract or strategic move, good people don’t have to think or be their best.
The more you control, the less employees perform. When you solve other people’s problems, they bring you more problems. But it makes you feel powerful when you control everything for everyone and wear a sign that says, “Bring me your problems.”
When a customer calls with an issue, do you immediately handle it yourself and get right back to them? A better solution would be to listen and then turn your customer’s concern over to a supervisor or manager. When it’s time to make a major purchase or award a large contract, do you get right in the middle of the negotiations? Instead, ask your manager to review the proposals, analyze the inclusions and exclusions, negotiate terms with the lowest responsible company, and then get your final approval. When a supervisor asks you to call a supplier who isn't performing, do you jump in and take charge? Train your supervisors to plan ahead, use written procedures, checklists, schedules, team meetings, and manage their workflow. A simple delegation strategy is to increase the maximum spending limit for all employees. Delegate by allowing them to spend at least $1,000 or more before they have to get the boss’s approval. The key is to stop making decisions for them.
Lead to grow
Performance and getting results are the top indicators of effective leadership. No performance or results equals poor leadership. When you control the work, hold your people back and constantly tell them what to do, you hurt your company’s growth and profit potential. An effective leader’s role is to inspire others to perform at higher levels and maximize results. Your job is to lead, not do. When you worry about every little detail and do the work yourself, you waste a valuable resource – you.