Question: I really struggle with delegating things to my team. I just don’t trust them to do things right. It’s easier and quicker half the time if I do it myself. What can you suggest?
First of all, just to let you know that this is one of the most common of management problems for people running their own business. I think the reason for that, is because most people start off in their business doing the technician work (the day to day delivery of the service or product) and it’s only as the business starts to grow that they’re forced up into managing more people, more often.
You’re so used to being hands on, how you do things and your personal standards are important parts of how you believe your business should run. So as a result, it’s got to be done your way.
No problem with that, but…
The million dollar question is how to get them do it your way when you’re not there?
So the key to delegating is this, you need to have trustworthy people to do the work and you must be willing to trust.
- So there’s a bunch of things that you can do to help trust appear:
Set Clear Service Delivery Expectations – whether its procedures and systems explaining how the job should be done or standards that say, “at the end of the day it’ll look like this”. Get them out of your head and onto a page. Then it’s clear to others and truly a standard that they can now be honest held against.
- Clearly Expressing Why This Is Important – it’s not enough to assume that everyone thinks like you. Someone may think that not doing a particular thing is no big deal, but if it causes mayhem for the rest of your team later then it’s a different matter. Be explicit as to why these steps are important and what the impact of doing them wrong is.
- Measure That It’s Done – You need some form of measurement and checking. Setup a process to randomly audit a certain amount of tasks a week. When you find an issue, bring your team back to the task. Find out why it wasn’t done to standard and get them to fix the problem. Make them rework their own mistakes, don’t take responsibility for them yourself. Repeat until they get the message.
- Create a Feedback Loop – have a feedback process to recognize when people are doing it right and also bring up points of improvement when they’re not. Create incentives to reward those people doing it right. Make it stand out to everyone in the team the results of work well done.
- Good Recruitment – Find people based on attitude rather than skill. If you find people with willingness to learn and improve, then you are a winner. Don’t get stuck with people that may have high skills but will do it however they want to. Get people to play by your rules.
- Let Go – take a chill pill, create a weekly meeting to review progress. Give your team time to make good do of it. Resist your natural urge to jump in and assume control.
The longer you try to control everything with your own two hands, the longer you are condemned to keep doing it. Realise your controlling ways. Set yourself up to manage through others and watch your life get simpler.
Article By: Steve Smit – Reality Consulting