I frequently get asked about how leaders in companies can take stuff off their plate and delegate effectively. You have a real chance to grow your business by learning how to do this correctly. There are 3 things you need to do:
1. Empower your team. The first step to taking work off your plate as a CEO is to have a capable team to delegate to. So, this means you hire slow, fire fast or as my colleague Matt Caruso says, “Hire slow, fire less.” Always be looking for quality people; often times, you find them before you need them and I suggest you consider hiring them. Quality people are the ones you delegate to; you have to have people with capacity or ability to delegate to. Talk to any entrepreneur who has grown their company and they will tell you quality people were the key. And then you tell these good teammates what you want them to do via job descriptions and clear instructions and let them do their job. Give your team the responsibility and the authority to take over things.
2. Learn the right way to delegate. You don’t just dump all your problems on your team; you delegate the responsibility and the authority to them. The key word here is authority; we just talked about empowerment. Here’s the right way to delegate: “Brent, I need you to call Mrs. Jones and go see her, walk around in her garden with her and get her a quote to update it. I need you to do it by 5:00 this Friday and I want to see a copy of your quote, as you always do, in my bin by Monday morning. Let me know through the process what is going on, so I can call her to follow up. I want her to know you are in charge; however, I also want her to know I care; she’s been a client of mine for twenty years, okay?” The important parts are the clarity of the direction, a time with a deadline, and asking the person to whom you delegated this task to tell you what they are going to do.
3. Stay out of the way. The surest way to get more work on your desk, not less, is to jump in and take over problems and tasks that you have asked others to do. If you have said to your team a job is theirs to do and if you have delegated the task, you have to say out of the way. Delegating for the owners of small landscaping companies is a frightening experience. Your business is your baby and there’s no way anyone else is ever going to care as much about your company as you do. But the myth that you are the “only one who cares” or that “you have to do everything” is false. I gladly stay out of the way; I have other things to do that make Grunder Landscaping Co. more effective.