For many business owners, giving up control is one of the most difficult challenges they confront in running and growing their business. The most valuable asset that any business owner has is time, so giving up some control and learning to empower employees can strengthen your business and free you up to think more strategically.
Susan Armstrong, president and CEO of a strategic marketing company in Wichita, Kansas, was at a workshop for business owners when the presenter said something that was like a slap in the face. He asked if the attendees ever had a line of employees outside their door, waiting for them to make a decision. That, the presenter said, indicated the business was limiting its own success because the employees weren’t allowed to grow.
“From that moment forward, whenever a staff member came to me with a problem, I asked them to propose a solution,” Armstrong says.
Business owners can address the need to delegate and become more trusting through a series of steps that empower employees:
Trust starts by good hiring practices focused on the skills you need and the culture you want to build. “The number one reason entrepreneurs resist delegating authority to employees is lack of trust,” says business owner Heather Ripley. “It’s hard work to build a mutual, trusting relationship, but by putting an emphasis on trustworthiness during the hiring process it can help establish your expectations from the start.”
Perform a Time Check.
Keep track of how you spend your time, in five or 10 minute increments, for a week. Analyze whether your time is being frittered away on non-essential tasks. That can provide a template for the type of chores you should delegate, as well as convince you of the need to get some things off your plate.
Do a Test Run.
Pick a single task that you would normally do and turn it over to an employee, telling them to use their own judgment and to only come to you if they need advice. Afterwards, review the effort and ask in a non-critical way why the employee made the choices he did.
Stop Being a Perfectionist.
It’s often hard for business owners to acknowledge that others can do some tasks better than they can. It can be even harder to accept that others will do the same task differently or not as well, but that’s better for the business since it frees you up for more important tasks.
Say Thank You.
Acknowledging the work an employee did will inspire them to do even better, which will make you feel more comfortable delegating more tasks.
The most valuable asset that any business owner has is time, and micromanaging is a thief of time. By understanding your own psychological barriers to delegating, you can put more trust in your employees, which will lead to a more satisfied workforce and a more successful business.