Real leadership is rare; micromanagement is all too common. Leaders, managers, business owners, please stop trying to play every darn instrument yourself and start conducting the orchestra. If you don’t conduct your team, who will? Know full well that if you don’t lead your business, a leadership vacuum will develop and there will always be someone poised to fill the void.
As a strategic leader, manager or owner, your primary aim should be to develop a self-managing and systems-oriented business that still runs consistently, predictably, smoothly, and profitably while you are not there. You should shape and own the business system and employ competent and caring employees to operate the system. You should document the work of your business so that you can effectively train others to execute the work. You must make yourself replaceable in the technical trenches of your business. To repeat, define and document the specific work to be done and then train and delegate. Don’t suffocate the talents and growth of your employees. If they don’t grow, you won’t grow and ultimately the business won’t grow.
Don’t be a super-worker, be a supervisor! 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 the owner and delegate the rest. You need to free up time to do leadership activities that make the business vision a reality. However, be sure to delegate, not abdicate or dump. Stay in touch with the person and their progress.
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 $100-$200 per hour?” If not, find someone else internally or externally to do the task at a cheaper rate. You must realize that your leadership 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. You MUST realistically value your own self worth. You sell your value and yourself short by micromanaging your staff. More importantly, if you do, you’re on a fast track to selling out your business and your organization.
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; don’t try to control them. Coach more and play less in the actual 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.
I imagine and hope that you are paying your employees and managers good money to do their jobs. If so, get out of their way and let them perform. If you aren’t paying adequate wages, beware! If you pay peanuts, then expect to attract monkeys.
Leadership is less about doing, more about thinking, planning, and overseeing what others do. You are to create jobs, not work a job. Be a leader, not a doer and above all not a micromanager!
I welcome your feedback. Please share your thoughts and comments.