Business owners and leaders must let go of the doing so they can accomplish the higher-level visionary and strategic tasks required to keep their business going and growing. That requires letting go of control, developing trust in your team and acknowledging that someone else is better at what needs to be done than you are. Even when the task is something you detest, it takes trust and willingness to let go of control to actually turn the task over to someone else. When the task is something you’re good at but you shouldn’t be doing any more because you need to focus on higher tasks, it's even more difficult.
Delegating to and empowering team members is one of the most critical skills a business owner needs to learn so that they can build a thriving, profitable business.
Delegation leads to profitability
A 2015 Gallup article explored this specific management challenge for founders as their business expands. The research showed that leaders who have and use high Delegator talent can generate much better business growth and venture success than those who get lost in the day-to-day details and tasks of managing a business. In fact, CEOs with high Delegator talent generated 33% greater revenue in 2013 than those with low or limited Delegator talent.
“What got you here won’t get you there” is how executive leadership coach and author Marshall Goldsmith sums up this challenge. Business owners, especially founders, are generally risk takers. They're scrappy and have a jack of all trades mindset. In order to grow and scale their business, they have to delegate. If they are busy doing everything in their business, they can never get to the important tasks that energize them and the areas where they can make the biggest difference in the business.
We all have places where we excel and places where we don't. We may be able to work in those places where we don't excel, but we're spending more time doing it and not doing it as well as somebody that is strong in that area. When you delegate, your ability to serve your customer is much higher and your profitability goes way up. Successful business owners strive to delegate themselves out of most of their job when they're starting their business.
Tips to help you delegate
The majority of people in my workshops say less than half of their time is spent on work that energizes them. They feel overworked, overwhelmed and under-profitable. That can all stem from their inability to delegate, empower and let go. They may not trust their team or don't have the right people on their team.
The role of a leader is to help others see who they are and help them live into it. This requires curiosity for the potential of a team and courage to trust the team’s contributions. Unfortunately, employees are generally not receiving the support and growth they desire. Gallup took a closer look to analyze where leaders are going wrong and found that only 50% of employees clearly know what is expected of them at work, only 41% strongly agree that their official job description aligns well with the work they do and a mere 30% strongly agree that their boss involves them in setting their goals at work. Sadly, but to no surprise, only 14% of employees strongly agree that the performance reviews they receive inspire them to improve.
When there is a team of people and everybody is operating in their own responsibilities, they are confident in their role, each other and the process to achieve the vision and goals of the business. This brings incredible satisfaction to most of us as leaders when we see others grow into their capability and capacity because they've had the opportunity and support to step out and soar. These are my tips to help you get there:
- Evaluate your energizers and those of your team. Who needs to be doing what tasks? Who has what energizers in their strength zone already? Is your staff capable of doing what needs to be done?
- Approach this as a process. The process is delegate, empower, and let go.
- Recognize that not releasing tasks is costing you and your team. It's costing you energy and satisfaction in your work. It's costing your business growth because there’s a lid on your capacity.
An essential first step of my executive coaching is my signature energy audit. I work with my clients to identify and evaluate the tasks they do throughout the course of their work to determine which ones energize or drain them. Those tasks that energize them are where they make the biggest impact in their business. It plays a huge role in understanding who they need to bring around them to complement their strengths so they can begin the process of delegating, empowering and letting go of the tasks that drain them. If you haven’t yet completed my signature energy audit, schedule a 30-minute coaching discovery consultation to explore coaching with me to focus on where you shine and what keeps you motivated.