Delegating was a tough skill to learn. I had to get over some personal baggage and deal with all the psychological barriers of handing off work to another person, let alone a team of people who were – I dare say – better than me. Gasp!
But delegating, outsourcing – whatever you want to call it – was only the first step. I grow my business further and to really create that time freedom that I’ve always wanted, I have to take it one step further. I’ll have to bring in a manager to handle the business.
Just remember, I have a lot of baggage…
It isn’t easy to just let go of that decision making authority, but to really grow your business, you have to empower managers. You have to take on a higher purpose role of being the leader and visionary in your business.
- Discover how to make use of managers.
- Getting the most out of your teams.
As with most personal development skills, this won’t happen overnight. One way to grow your skill and gain by-in from your team is to share your objective of being a better leader and empowering them with more authority and responsibility.
Step 1: Vision Casting
Just as the steps to delegating to your team, we begin with the organization’s goals.
Notice, this is the ‘organization’s goals’ and not your own personal goals. When you begin to build a business, there will be a point when you have to stop equating your business goals with your own goals. While your personal goals might be to meet the business goals, your business goals should not be to help you mean your personal goals.
Does this sound counter-intuitive? Let’s think this through for a moment.
The true purpose of your business is not to make you happy. The true purpose of a business is to make its customers happy.
Happy customers = happy business.
And as a business owner, happy business = profits.
With that in mind, you have to set a vision for your team to follow. This is the ‘true North’ your company follows and positions your team towards a positive, idealistic goal.
One way to think about this vision is a measuring stick your employees can use to evaluate their decision making. By asking the question does this action align with our company’s vision, they should be able to determine whether the action is beneficial to the company long-term.
Still stuck on what your vision statement should be? Check out these 20 Sample Vision Statements from lifehack.org.
Which brings us to the second step…
Step 2: Creating Alignment
You have a vision statement and you’ve rallied the troops behind it. Now what.
What you have to determine has a manager of managers and as a leader is does it resonate with your team? Does your vision appeal to and inspire them to take action?
If not, you might to do a little more soul searching. But assuming that your vision statement takes hold, you should consider the ways in which you wish to see this vision played out day-to-day.
Now is the time to have your managers and team members chime in on what they believe they can do to achieve that vision. While the vision will be so idealistic that it’ll never be reached, each team member should be able to do something actionable to work towards that goal.
As they contribute ideas and strategies on what they’d like to see in the workplace and in their work, you are creating ownership and by-in to accomplishing the vision you’ve set forth. This stage is often called the “Agreement Stage” as you are getting your organization to come up with what they’ll agree to do to help the company be successful.
You’re building consensus and the only way to do this is by getting folks to take ownership of these goals. Take their contributions and draft up your “Corporate (or ‘Company’) Culture Agreements” document with the different thoughts folks have shared. This document can then be presented to every employee for them to sign and acknowledge that they are willing to abide by these conditions to make the company successful and work towards it’s vision.
If you’ve done a good job of developing consensus, getting folks to sign off on this document should be the next logical step.
Step 3: Delegating Decision Making
As you continue to grow your business, you cannot be the decision maker on everything. In fact, the only way for your business to grow is to be less of a decision maker.
What you’ll find is that the decisions you’ll be making now impact the entire organization. You teams should be autonomous. Managers should be able to make decisions for their area of responsibility.
And you’ll notice that there a several “should’s” in there. If it were that easy, we would all be successful at delegating responsibilities.
But if you’ve gotten this far, you’re on the right track.
Your manager(s) should have a clear vision of what it takes to make the company successful now. Your role now, as a leader, is to help them develop as managers.
This means clearly communicating to them the responsibilities and expectations you have for them and setting a clear goal for them and their team to achieve. And it is their team now. He or she should be taking ownership over this team and it’s responsibilities.
With this responsibility comes the ability to make certain decisions. There must be some freedom within the role. Start off by being very specific and deliberate in the decisions that can be made within the team and what you want to travel up to you. As you see success, you can continue to transfer decision making to your manager so long as it is within the scope of his/her responsibilities.
Remember that you have to be clear about the responsibilities you want your manager to oversee and not overload a single person. When the need arises, look at building more teams and bringing on more managers.
Within my own business, I look at my role and responsibility as the person to help my managers get the resources they need to be successful. When necessary, I will work to remove any obstacles in their path. If they’re the ditch diggers, I’m the person clearing out people and traffic ahead of them so they can keep making progress.
Today that’s my job, but one day there will be a team for even that. And ultimately, my role will be solely ensuring that each manager on my team is meeting their goals and expectations.
Whether you’re hiring your first manager or your 50th manager, vision casting and building alignment is a crucial component of any successful company. As you continue your entrepreneurial journey, remember that one of the ways successful people grow is learning to let go.
You can build a multi-million dollar corporation when you start to realize that you can’t do it all on your own. In the end, you need a team and you need to delegate.
And if you’re looking for more insight on how to delegate, outsource or automate your business, contact me for a free 15-minute consultation.