An effective leader does not simply hand out jobs for others to do. The effective leader first puts the structure and processes in place to assure the successful execution by others. In other words, an effective leader knows how to delegate with confidence.
Consider an example. Let’s say you want to open a restaurant because you are a great cook and really love to cook. If that is your primary reason I would suggest that you get a job as a chef at a restaurant. If you want to open a restaurant you need to manage and understand all elements of that business, but primarily, be able to manage and hold your employees accountable.
I have a client who had built a very successful home services business. He did the sales and his wife did the bookkeeping. He hired service staff to work with him. He has a successful business but has hit a growth roadblock. How many proposals can he do in one day? How many follow-up calls can he take from his telephone staff?
One day he decided that he needed to grow his sales so he hired more service and office people. Nothing spectacular happened. He did receive more business but he started losing some business. How could that be?
Although he had a staff he did not let go. Although he did not realize it he was still doing everything himself.
When a business owner fails to let go and delegate he or she fails to harness the power of their organization. Let’s consider how this affects not only the owner but also the customer.
A customer would call the company with problem with their product. The person answering the phone would have no authority other than to forward the message and dispatch a service person. Now, when the service person would arrive he would find that the customer merely had to reset a switch. You can imagine the customer’s anger with this waste of time. So who is to blame, the person taking the call or the service person? Neither is to blame. They were following instructions of the owner.
Business owners resist delegating decision-making authority because that they think that no one can make these decisions as well as they can. To be sure delegating properly does take time. You will have to train and monitor the person to whom you assign the task. When you first delegate, it’s often faster to do it yourself. And before you delegate you need to have process and structure in place.
If you have not reviewed your entire strategic plan in a few years I suggest starting with reviewing and redefining your strategy, followed by your structure, your processes, and your goals. Then make sure each person understand his or her part and hold them accountable. The end result will be more sales, less friction, less fires to put out and confidence in your delegation.
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