What would happen if, tomorrow you got hit by a car? Would your business still produce income? Would your team go on or would they end up spiraling out of control? Would your customer’s know who to talk to? Would the level of service they receive change?
A business or organization that isn’t able to operate without its founder or leader, is one that it gambling with its life. The answer to overcoming this is easy in theory and in fact, most owners or leaders can already tell you that they know they should hand off more responsibility and they should delegate. Anything can sound good in theory, so why isn’t it translating into practice?
In a word….compromise.
Our workplaces are made up of people, with different ideas and concepts of what is important, with unique approaches to looking at problems and solutions, with individual skills and experience. At times, we celebrate our differences and see it as an advantage, although when it comes to delegating often times we really dislike different.
You have built what you have, over time. You have made all kinds of mistakes that you learned from along the way. You have received feedback from your customers, have heard people talk about your competition in what they are doing well or not doing well, and you believe that things need to be done in a specific way.
The minute you delegate something to someone else, diversity smacks you directly in the face. It requires you to compromise, because the person your delegate to is not going to do it the same way as you. They are going believe certain aspects of the process or job are more or less important than what you think they are. They might try to change something in the process. It is going to be different and whether any of us likes to admit it or not, we often don’t like change.
Here is the hard truth, as a leader if you don’t become masterful in the art of compromise, you will hold your company back. Notice I said, the “art” of compromise. It is an art, because when you are leading there are just some things you can’t compromise on….the quality of your product or service, the safety of your employees, etc. The art comes in understanding the critical elements from the personal preference. I might prefer a glass be placed in a cupboard, rim side down but it is not critical to the glass being put away. I might prefer a tool bench is orderly and clean, but it is not critical to whether I correctly torque the nuts on a tire. Ensuring a bid in for a closing tender is on time, is critical. Too many times, it is easy to think everything is critical, but you are fooling yourself.
In order to delegate, you need to be able to distinguish between what is critical and what is your personal preference. Help the person you are delegating to, to understand the critical elements and the desirable outcome. If they are able to achieve the desirable outcome, then you need to let go of your personal preference and focus on taking on a new challenge. Grow your business, by growing your people.