One of the biggest factors that keep a small business from growing is the inability to train, delegate and let people make mistakes. I know this not only because I’ve watched it happen to my clients for the past 25 years, but because I’ve also done it myself.
You’re really good at what you do – right? You’ve been doing it for years, and have a lot of experience and expertise – right? AND, when you want to make sure things are “done right”, it is often easier to just do it yourself. After all, you’re faster and better at it than the people who work for you. You might even contend that they don’t care about your business as much as you do, so it’s risky to give them the important things to handle. It’s easier to hold onto the important stuff – right? Not really.
About three months ago after an exhausting week, and while looking over the looming list of to-do’s for the following week, I wondered how I’d ended up feeling so depleted by work. This was definitely not my usual experience. As I looked for an answer it occurred to me I had spent the past several months doing work I was not enjoying and was not really utilizing my best skill set. I knew I wasn’t really serving my clients. I was taking time away from those areas where I make the greatest contribution. “How did I get myself here?” I wondered. “Is it necessary that I do this work?” I knew a lot of it had to do with transitions of new staff, but I still wondered if there was something I could be doing differently.
For many business owners, “taking care of it” can often seem like the shortest route to the final result. The problem is we continue to burden ourselves with tasks and projects that we can do, but are better delegated to others. Our REAL job as managers and leaders is to:
- First hire the right people for the job, establish agreed upon criteria for success, get buy in and agreement on job results, then hold people accountable.
- Second is to invest in training, mentoring, and coaching.
- Third is to seek in them their highest contribution and potential.
To be clear, I’m NOT talking about abdicating responsibility, I’m talking about managing to agreed upon RESULTS, and letting people own their jobs. Allow them to make mistakes, let them fix those mistakes and learn from it.
I’m happy to say that in the last 90 days. I have been doing just that with my clients’ staff and my own staff. I have stopped taking on tasks because it’s easier, faster, quicker, or simpler to “get it done.” I’ve been focusing on engaging them in agreed upon results, and then empowering them to do their job. Along the way there have been conversations, training, mistakes, and more training. In the process they are getting stronger, more competent and skilled. They are “owning” their jobs and feeling empowered and successful. Side benefit? I’m having more fun!
Want to have more time and more fun in your work? Want to build a team of people around you that “own” their jobs? Take the steps above and you’ll be well on your way! If you want a little extra help with tools to help you get aligned on clear goals and results with your team, feel free to check out my “Manager’s Tool Kit.”
Make it an extraordinary day!