The wise entrepreneur is aware of his or her weakest areas. This person recognizes that he or she is not a superhero, but a human who is surrounded by the right people with the right capabilities.
To the observer, it might well appear that the entrepreneur in question has superhuman abilities. But this wunderkind has learned an important secret: how to delegate.
It’s hard to admit you can’t do everything, and you may sincerely believe you’re best suited for the job, every job. But you’re only one person. When you recognize that other people can help shoulder your burdens, you’re on your way to heightened success and accomplishments.
Filling your shoes isn’t easy, but it’s possible
Still not convinced that your underlings can step in on your behalf? It’s an achievable goal, if you follow a few important steps to prepare them:
- Set positive momentum in motion by pointing out your employees’ biggest strengths. This can be done during a monthly or quarterly job performance review. Give the person specific examples of things they did well and explain how their unique skills relate to the task you want them to do.
- Provide a clear definition of the expected performance. Be specific about the details involved in the task and the outcome you expect.
- Offer assistance wherever, however, whenever needed. Give the person the tools he or she needs to succeed. Most people want to do their best. They’ll see this as an opportunity to learn new skills and add to their experience. Provide the guidance they need so they can excel.
- Encourage immediate update points along the way so you’re assured that things are on track. Set concrete deadlines for specific hurdles to be cleared. If the task is ongoing with no specific end date, still schedule periodic meetings to address any issues or concerns and appraise whether the person is ready for more responsibility.
- Just let them go! Your gut instinct about this person is probably correct, or you wouldn’t have entrusted this task to them. You’re a good judge of character, so don’t micromanage. Allow the person to flourish under your guidance, but also empower them to fly independently.
Another important reason to delegate
Many people would admit they want their boss’s job. In a small, independently-owned company where a glass ceiling prevents them from moving into your position, talented workers may get frustrated and move on. You could lose these people to your competition, or worse, they may decide to go head-to-head with you someday.
Post Baby Boom generations aren’t followers. Unlike their parents, who stayed with one company for decades, they view your company as a temporary gig. Offering them more responsibility shows you’re happy with their performance and that you value them. This builds loyalty and trust, especially if you take an interest in becoming their mentor.
Doling out responsibilities also fosters a stronger team environment. With more hands on deck, you’re forcing people to rely on each other to accomplish a goal.
Our Bottom Line
An entrepreneur knows that “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” But that attitude can lead to missing untapped talent on your staff. And you can’t do everything. Even if things are done at 80 percent of your expected performance level or quality, your company will accomplish so much more through delegation. Give it a chance, and watch the results.