Delegation Requires Trust

I had this conversation yesterday with two different leaders of companies here in DFW. They both wanted to engage their teams to take on more but there is a lack of trust that the team will step up and get it done, so they keep doing it themselves. They often find themselves doing things other people could do, and then they don’t have time to get to things that only they can do.

We’ve all heard the expression you need to stop working IN your business, so you can start working ON your business. This is a challenge for many business owners and CEO’s but is essential to free you up to work on the bigger picture and still have a personal life. (Oh yeah, you should have a personal life.)

Why are already busy leaders not delegating things to their teams?

WhatisPeerGroup1.) “The team is too busy to take on more work.” So are you but you seem willing to trade off time with your family to stay up into the night doing things your team should be doing. If anyone should be working overtime it’s the people you pay, not the person who owns the company. That may seem harsh but burn out leads to poor leadership decisions that can affect the entire company. Let the team work overtime for a while and add staff once you see the workload will not decrease AND sales continue to rise. Focus on things that only you can do the very best, then delegate the rest.

2.) “They won’t do it as good as me.” Maybe, or maybe at some point, they’ll even do it better, or does this make you feel even more scared? Either way, you won’t be doing it and can focus on other things you really need to take care of. Delegation is a transfer of trust, so when you give someone a responsibility, you’re telling them you trust them enough to let them take on the work. This will build employee engagement, confidence and loyalty to the team. You’re also building a team that can grow your company even when you’re not there, something investors will look for when offering to buy your business.

“Delegation is a transfer of trust.”

3.) “You really love doing the work.” Some CEO’s tell me they are the best salesman in the company. That’s pretty sad. Your job as CEO is to hire leaders that do the work better than you, so you can grow and focus on other opportunities. You may love crunching the numbers, hiring people, or closing deals, but if you ever plan to sell your company someday, you need to work yourself out of a job to make the company truly valuable. (Find out the current value of your company here)

4.) “This is your pet project.” A CEO’s job is to create a clear and compelling vision, communicate this to the team and let them get it done. Just because you thought of the idea does not mean you need to be the one to drive the project. Letting other leaders step up and lead will free you up to think of the next big idea or opportunity, and build teams of leaders instead of employees.

5.) “It takes too much time to teach them how to do it right.” This is why some companies will always be just a small shop until the owner dies. Yes, it does take time to transfer the knowledge and skills to others but consider the tradeoff you are getting for letting someone else do the work. If you pull out $250,000 a year from your company, the company is paying you $120 an hour. Your $40,000 a year employee only cost the company $20 an hour. Who do you want to pay to clean out the storage closet, correct software issues, or plan an employee lunch?

Sadly, too many leaders refuse to let go of the reins and teach people the skills to do the job right. Some leaders tell me they worry they will invest in the employee and the employee will leave. You should worry more about NOT investing in your employees and they STAY.

When you are ready to delegate, you need to do four things to make it work:

– Provide CLEAR & COMPELLING VISION of what it looks like to do the job right.

– Give them the TOOLS to do it effectively and efficiently.

– Provide adequate TRAINING to do it consistently.

– Hold them ACCOUNTABLE to own the results each time.

Building TrustI can explain these four when we meet next time. If you are a CEO or business owner of a mid-sized company here in DFW, make plans to join our CEO Learning Session on Building Trust on October 18 near the Westin Galleria. Sign up for by clicking on this photo.

Robert Hunt
Renaissance Executive Forums

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