What It Takes To Manage People Through Delegation
A lot of people don’t understand what it takes to manage people through delegation in order to make a business successful. Business owners and managers feel that they know everything in the business and since they are the ones who set the goals and directions of the business, only they can run things to make the business prosper.
A big mistake!
The biggest mistake a business owner or manager can commit is not letting go and understanding the different talents employees have and how those talents may be different from his or hers. The owner or manager hired people to support him/her in the day-to-day affairs of the business. In most cases, the employees are expected to do only what the owner or manager tells them to do. The employees are not allowed to take actions without the stamp of approval of the owner or manager.
The Magic of Letting Go
The letting-go part of management is indeed very scary. It is the biggest lesson that Marcia Hoeck, CEO and owner of Hoeck Associates, LLC, had to learn when she was growing her own business. Eventually, she did learn and grew to understand it very well. And her business took off.
Letting go means actually delegating the proper tasks to the proper people. A business owner or manager must know and be responsible for the ways of doing things. That is why they want to do those themselves.
It is indeed hard to let go and delegate. It is hard to think that someone else can do something as well as we can do it ourselves. Finding talents in other people, recognizing those talents, and encouraging those talents can be very difficult, at times ego-deflating to someone who is sure that he/she can capably do all those things themselves.
When Ego Can Get in the Way
Ms. Hoeck is very willing to share the hard way she learned when and how to delegate management duties and responsibilities. “I started my business from the ground up; hence I knew all the chores, all the jobs, all the tasks, and all the strategies. I had my own way of doing things and I believed nobody else could do it better. But I needed more people when my business started growing. I needed people to help me because I could not run everything by myself.
“What happened next is something that I am not very proud of. I would stay after work and go around all tables and desks and check on what my employees did. Most often, I ended up redoing their work. I would put sticky notes all over on how they should change things. My staff would show up in the morning and see what I did. It was awful. It was awful for them seeing that I redid their work.”
However, when the business continued to grow, she could not handle it anymore. She did not have time to redo their work, and it was a big blow to her ego. Here is what she realized: Everything still went fine even when she did not redo her staff’s work. The big lesson she learned was that working all those long hours, redoing the work done by very capable people was a waste of her time.
Delegate and Let Go
After she learned to delegate work to her capable employees, she still could not let go completely. She let people handle the job but she still needed to put her personal stamp of approval on it. She thought it was, after all, her company. It was her name on the door.
However, as they grew really big, she could no longer do that. She finally let her staff handle things by themselves – presenting work to clients without her personal stamp of approval.
And the result? Her staff was thrilled, because their work was suddenly being seen as theirs. The more she let go and let her staff handle their work, the business grew exponentially because they now had all of that added brain power to add to their repertoire. It was not only her ideas of doing things that was running the business. It was a host of other great peoples’ ideas and everybody’s ways of doing things.
In the end, there was the realization that new ideas coming from the staff were better than the original and, at times, stagnant and out of date ideas of the owner. Her clients began to value and appreciate her business even more.
As a self-professed “manager from hell,” Steve Caldwell learned through the hard knocks of making mistakes while building a career. Today he serves as a leadership coach, mentor and role model guiding high achieving managers to become the strong leaders their companies, employees and the world needs. He is also author of the book Manager Mojo – Be the Leader that Others Want to Follow (available on Amazon).
“In all arenas, we suffer from a lack of leadership talent,” Steve observes. “Every day employees are promoted into management with no training or support to guide their development into leadership positions. You don’t have to be born to lead. You can learn to lead.” He can be reached by email at Steve@ManagerMojo.com or by phone at (415) 670*9543.