There comes a point when you can not and should not be doing everything in your business. When you have to let your inner “control freak” go. You have most likely heard this referred to as “Delegation”. Here’s the problem when many, if not most, business owners start “delegating”. We hand off a task or responsibility to someone on our team and then proceed to stand over their shoulder and try to make sure they do it exactly the way we would. That’s not delegation, that’s micromanaging. You don’t like it and, I assure you, your team members don’t either. You know what else frustrates your employees? When they have responsibility without authority. If someone has to come running to you to get your permission to do something all the time, you haven’t delegated. You’ve simply given a job to do without all the tools to get it done. So how do we delegate effectively?Consider Need #3 on the “Order” Level of the Business Hierarchy of Needs (BHN) – Outcome Delegation.Question: Are the people closest to the problem empowered to resolve it?When a team member is truly empowered, that means that you give them leeway to not do it exactly like you would, and also to accept the outcome. If the problem wasn’t resolved in a fashion consistent with existing guidelines or values, that is a conversation you can have to help decision making in the future. But unless they did something that is illegal or jeopardizes the business in some way, you need to stay out of it. Another key phrase is “people closest to the problem”. As your business grows, that won’t be you anymore. For instance, if you own a gym and are consistently hearing from your admin that the check-in process isn’t working, you have two choices:1) Insist that it’s not being done because of X, Y, Z, and tell her to just “get it done”.2) Ask her why she thinks this is happening and how she thinks it could be made better.I think we can agree number one isn’t going to win you any “boss of the year” awards. The second is probably more powerful than you realize. When an employee knows you are willing to listen to ideas, they feel good about themselves and about you. It brings out creativity and problem solving, and often the solution is much better than the current process and better than the one you would have come up with. It would be no surprise to those who know me and those who worked for me that I struggled with this as we added team members. I had to learn how to delegate effectively. I like things done my way, and it caused conflict until I realized that just because the idea wasn’t mine, or wasn’t like I would do it, didn’t mean that it was a bad idea. Usually just the opposite. They were closer to the problem, which meant they had perspective I did not have. And it can work the other way. Sometimes explaining (or reminding) why you do things the way you do them brings your team a better perspective and you get better cooperation. Just don’t get caught in the trap of “that’s the way we have always done it”. That leads to stagnation and frustration.For the business owner, it all starts with the willingness to listen, learn, and when appropriate, let go.How are you doing with that?
It’s Time To Let Go: How to Delegate Effectively
January 5, 2021