How to be a leader in a way that maximizes your time and theirs.
You can only be in so many places at once. In the same way, there’s a limit to how many things you can effectively do at the same time. These statements are common sense, but they’re ones easily forgotten in times of transition. As your organization continues to grow, the reality is that you cannot hold all the pieces together on your own. From my own experience, I understand that it can be difficult delegating to others the smaller tasks you started with. However, it’s a step that’s necessary and healthy. Regardless of your industry, we’re going to look at what’s necessary to seamlessly transition from a doer to a leader in your organization.
Trust Your Staff and Delegate
What if I told you that doing your employee’s jobs for them, isn’t helpful? In fact, it can quickly stifle the productivity and efficiency of your organization. Instead, I urge that once you’ve stepped out of an area of work, commit yourself to staying out. As the owner of my own startup, I used to handle a majority of the day to day operations necessary to run the company. Yet, the need to delegate those smaller tasks began growing simultaneously with the size of the company. So that’s exactly what I did. And initially, the transition went smoother than expected. My staff was doing a phenomenal job on the newly assigned tasks.
However, on one occasion we received a last minute order for a wifi kit. This was a job usually tackled by my staff, who would test the 10-12 components in each kit before sending them out. But because the order was last minute and it was a task I had handled before in the past, I decided I would simply do it for them. Not long after, we received a call that when the kit arrived one of the components wasn’t working. While I had checked each of them, the truth is that it wasn’t as thoroughly as my team would have. That process is one that they had a clear system for, but which I was now unfamiliar with. In the end, it only contradicted my staff’s process and slowed down their work.
This type of micromanagement backfires for a number of reasons. First, it hurts your credibility as a leader when you take on a staff member’s job and don’t succeed with it. Even if you’ve managed to stay familiar with how to do the task, it likely won’t replicate your staff’s current methods. Secondly, it erodes trust and productivity between you and your team. If you’ve given your employees responsibility for an area, it can communicate a lack of distrust to reinsert yourself. If you’re concerned that they will not do the job the way you want, then doing it for them is only placing a band-aid on a much larger wound. Instead, look at the situation as a training opportunity. This is the only way to reach any sort of long term resolution on this type of issue. Doing a job for an employee instead of teaching them creates a situation where only you know how to do the task. This causes a “one-time fill-in” to spiral into an indefinite project.
The Key to Duplicating Passion
Allow me to clarify the last point, I’m not saying that you can’t help your employees. My contention is that the best way to manage and lead isn’t by reassigning work to yourself or forgoing the time to train employees on an improvement. The key to management is creating an environment for your staff members to flourish. Take the time to trust your staff and focus your energy on larger responsibilities. One of the main problems I hear from managers in this transitional phase is that they miss the small tasks that they’ve assigned to others. Rest assured, I completely understand and relate to this sentiment. I started my company with a passion for code and design. Removing myself from those duties to focus on other ideas was definitely difficult at first. However, I’ve found the best way to overcome this obstacle is a mindset change. Find your fulfillment in transferring your passion to others. I no longer write code as much as I used to, but my goal is to motivate my staff to work that job with the same passion I possessed when I did. Channel your passion towards others being able to build their goals and reach the objectives of the company together. This is the only way to successfully scale your operation’s growth. Understand, that as your business grows there will be a need for you adapt and provide what is necessary for your organization’s changing needs. The best way to stay motivated and fulfilled in your area of work is by helping others do the same in their own.
Take Time For You. Be Better For Them.
A good night’s sleep and an early rise are two habits that have become criminally underrated in the business world. Even if you don’t believe in the first (or the second) I strongly recommend making a habit of starting your work an hour or two early. Allow yourself the time needed to identify your goals and prepare your day. This will allow you to be more organized and overall better equipped to manage your schedule. There are two key habits for you to stay motivated and at peak potential for effectively interacting with your staff.
Know Your Goals For Today
If you don’t plan your time, it will become planned for you. I always recommend that leaders start early so that they can mentally prepare themselves for the workday. Begin early with no other agenda than to identify what your goals are for the day ahead. The best way I’ve found is to directly address small preparations such as answering emails or readings news in the industry. The point is that I want to be ready for work when I arrive at work. Moving on the same lines, your calendar shouldn’t only be filled with meetings and appointments. Schedule for yourself blocks of time to work on specific projects. Creating uninterrupted sessions of work isn’t neglectful towards your staff because the goal is being effective in your time with them. As the leader of your company agenda, the more productive and prepared you are to handle the day, the more your employees will be able to do same.
Create A “Done” List
As you transition to management, the list of tasks to accomplish each week will seem as if it only continues to grow. Make the decision to stay positive. Instead of having a “to do” list, consider creating a “done” list. The ability to look back and see exactly what you were able to accomplish within the week is a great way to stay motivated and energetic.
1. Delegating Tasks Allows Trust and Cooperation.
2. Transition yourself from a doer to a motivator and leader.
3. You Being Productive Allows Them to Do the Same.