“If you allow staff to own a project, you must trust in their capacity and avoid micromanagement. Be there to provide support when needed, but don’t force yourself into the picture.”-Barbara Moses
Are you still battling the temptation to micromanage?
Real leadership is rare; micro-management is all too common. We need to stop trying to play every instrument ourselves and start conducting the orchestra. If we don’t conduct, who will?
Let’s review some key concepts regarding a Strategic Business Owner: As a Strategic Business Owner, our primary aim should be to develop a self-managing and systems-oriented business that still runs consistently, predictably, smoothly, and profitably while we are not there. We should shape and own the business system and employ competent and caring employees to operate the system. We should document the work of our business so that we can effectively train others to execute the work. We must make ourselves replaceable in the technical trenches of our business. To repeat, define and document the specific work to be done and then train and delegate.
Stop the “I’ll do it myself” and “No one does it as well as I do” attitudes. Learn to delegate. If someone else can do something 80-90% as well as you, give it up! Do not spend a dollar’s worth of time on a dime task. Know your areas of brilliance and delegate most everything else. Do those things that only you can do as CEO and delegate the rest. You need to free up time to do CEO activities that make the vision a reality.
To help with delegation, you must have the work to be done well defined. You cannot delegate non-specifics. Next, you must adopt the attitude that your time is valuable and learn to discriminate between various activities. Before doing a task, ask, “Does this task lead directly to increased profits, significantly reduced costs, improved customer satisfaction, or to me building a better business?” If it doesn’t, dismiss the task or delegate it. Or ask, “Is this task worth $200 per hour?” If not, find someone else internally or externally to do this task at a cheaper rate. You must realize that your CEO thoughts and actions (building systems, leading, planning, holding people accountable, coaching other leaders, etc.) are worth at least $200 per hour. If not, you will never learn to be effective at delegation.
By all means, get out of the way of your managers and workers. Don’t meddle. Instead of doing their jobs, help them to clarify their roles, responsibilities, goals, and tasks and then simply hold them accountable for getting things done. Be sure to monitor your employees’ performance but don’t try to control them. Coach more and play less in the game.
Once they demonstrate competency and character, give your employees the authority to make things happen. Let them do their jobs. Let them tackle stuff on their own and come to you only when they need further guidance. Instead of micro-managing the process, manage by results. If you set up your systems correctly and train properly, you will be able to manage by numbers and on an exception-only basis.
Leadership is less about doing, more about thinking, planning, and overseeing what others do. You are to create jobs, not work a job!