Many entrepreneurs treat their business like their child, and like mothers, they have trouble letting go. They’re overprotective; they want to be involved in every decision. There’s nothing wrong with this if your business is a startup, but once it’s passed the just-launched phase, continuing this I-am-in-charge-of-everything management style can hinder the business from taking leaps and bounds.
A child can’t grow well if it’s constantly coddled, so does a business whose leader refuses to let others take the lead.
You need to let go of the reigns and establish a company succession plan.
Lesson 1: Don’t Be the Information and Decision Bottleneck
Yes, it’s important that you know everything that’s happening in your business, but not to the point that even small decisions are run by you before it’s done. There are managers, supervisors and other leaders in your organization who are more than capable of handling such tasks, so leave the job to them. Getting involved in this process chain will just slow things down and make it difficult for everyone.
As the business owner, it is your responsibility to give your selected leaders the authority and trust they need to carry their duties.
Lesson 2: Transfer Authority AND Responsibility Incrementally
Here’s a question people often ask me, “How can I let others lead without risking my company’s future?”
The answer is simple, do it incrementally. This may sound obvious, but many leaders don’t realize they’re doing this the wrong way.
For instance, some business owners convince themselves that they are indeed loosening the reigns because they have given the responsibility of certain tasks to others, but are retaining the authority to make decisions. That just won’t work.
The ensuing power struggle won’t be good for business and it certainly won’t work for the new person responsible, because he will still need the business owner’s approval to make decisions. Meanwhile, the employees caught in between are confused, whose orders will they follow?
Give people you trust the responsibility and authority to handle certain tasks, but be there to guide them in case they need help. Provide positive and constructive feedback after every project is completed and NOT every step of the way. This is the essence of a successful company succession plan.
Lesson 3: Build a Culture Where People are Allowed to Make Mistakes
People make mistake; you make mistakes. Don’t think that everything would be perfect if things were still under your control.
After delegating authority and responsibility, encourage your team to do their best- not to be perfect, but best. Your business will grow if you don’t micromanage people’s work, and this includes allowing them to make mistakes, which are necessary for them to learn and grow in their new roles.
Letting others take the lead is probably the most difficult part for any business owner. They fear losing control, while others think they can’t find someone good enough to do the job. Yes, these are legitimate doubts, but you won’t know that for sure until you try it.