Are you a boss with a “Type A” personality? The one who thinks it has to be done your way or it’s not right? When your employees don’t get something right you do it yourself? You tell employees to “take the lead,” yet when you get to the meeting you overstep and steamroll that person out of your own mistrust and take over the meeting?
Well guess what, you’re the boss people leave. I know that’s hard to hear, but it’s true. If good employees are not allowed to spread their wings when you delegate, they won’t stay with you. The beauty of hiring personalities different than yours, is you create a team that can work in synergy. When you feel they all have to be in your image, and work your way, what was the point of hiring that creative person? Having people around you that fill the void for the talents you don’t have is the exact key to a great team!
My advice to you is if you’ve created a team who brings to the table the experiences and talents you need, find a way to let go and let them run with it. If you don’t you will self sabotage yourself. Yes it’s OK to set expectations for the end result, however the process to get there should not have to look identical to yours.
I’ve been in both positions. The employee who felt unheard and underutilized. And the boss who wouldn’t listen and wanted things done “just so.” What I’ve learned is that I must trust in others first in order for them to succeed. Having an open and honest relationship allows for constant, immediate feedback so that you’re on the same page.
When an employee is given some rope they will come to you for guidance when needed. But if the leash is too short, they will not flourish and exceed your expectations. They will always feel “well it won’t be good enough anyway, so why waste my time and effort?”
So how do you go about allowing them to run with it without freaking out or feeling you need to take over? Give them a small project to start. Something with a deadline that gives them time to feel it out and try it on their own. Here’s a tip – set the deadline a few days before the real deadline. Why? That way if they don’t get it right or don’t meet your timeline, you still have a cushion to fix it.
Once they’ve prove to you they can handle the first project, then start to feed them larger projects. Keep those open lines of communication and check in now and then. It’s OK to ask “how is that going?” Or “how are you feeling about that current project?” Or even just a “hey, I’m here if you have questions or need anything.” Checking in shows it’s still on your mind without taking over and making it happen.
Also, think about sharing some ideas of how to go about the project, or brainstorm with the person, before sending them off. Especially if this is their first try at it. Remember what it was like when you were first trusted with a project. You want some guidance up front so you’re not wasting time, but you also wanted the freedom to show what you can do and spread your wings. This is a great way for the employee to show you that they are confident they can handle the task at hand.
Here’s 10 tips for letting go and delegating:
- Believe in your staff’s abilities – you hired them for a reason
- You can’t be great at everything – hand off what you know your team’s strengths are
- Give away small projects first – this will give your staff an opportunity to show you want they can do
- Ask them what talents have you don’t know about – maybe there’s some hidden talent in your office that will pay off
- Have frequent checks ins – this can be daily or weekly depending on the length of the project and the deadline
- Keep a true open door policy – if they think they can safely come to you with questions or concerns they are more likely to
- Provide the resources necessary for the employee to succeed – if you know of some places for them to start or look to, don’t keep them a secret, give them the tools to preform at their best
- Don’t be negative – be positive and supportive and let them know you are counting on them and have faith in them
- Give open feedback along the way – you can let them know if something isn’t coming out as you hoped – but also find some positive in what they have accomplished
- Always give credit when due – if you have someone on the team run with it and then take the credit, you’ll shoot yourself in the foot for the next opportunity
Studies show that on average, it costs $15,000 to replace an employee. Think about the time and effort you will put into marketing, recruiting, interviewing, training etc. for each employee. Isn’t it better to work with the ones you already have then have to keep hiring over and over again?