Micromanaging once your business starts to grow is a certain way to choke off expansion. The alternative is to simply set up systems that allow you to delegate the minor stuff. Those activities that do not generate new opportunities for your business. The critical part of that system is having a solid strategy that empowers staff to do what is necessary. By having a shared vision, you enable your company to move forward in the same direction. There is never a question about where you are leading your company and the destination. If you’re Zappos, it’s extraordinary customer service. If you’re FedEx, it’s overnight delivery. The same goes for the small business owner. Eventually your business grows larger than your kitchen table and you start hiring staff. Now you have to give up wearing so many hats and hand them off to others.
In his blog post*, “Small Business Owners Need to Let Go”, business owner Jim Meyers explains after his own company started to increase revenues and staff: “There simply wasn’t enough time in the day and I began to feel more and more stretched and burnt out as the company continued to grow.”
He also hired a business management coach to help him with the right kind of leadership that could help him continue to expand. Having a framework for business processes allows employees to work with a consistent vision and set goals. Everyone is able to make decisions on the spot and keep things moving forward instead of being choked by layers of micromanagement and unnecessary red tape.
If each customer service representative understands that delighting the customer is priority one, then they know that they can help the customer directly on the phone and fix the problem without putting them on hold or telling them that they have to wait three days for a response. If each member of the office staff is on board with the same goals, then they know to not to just transfer a call into voice mail hell, but to find out if the person is there to answer the call. Imagine how different the experience for the customer who is having a problem or wanting more information before they buy?
What this boils down to is accepting that leadership is about pointing the way and waving everyone else on. Leadership is not about being the top dog. It’s about showing the team where you want to go and then sharing that vision with those who can help you get there. A good leader will trust their staff because they created the company culture with shared values.
Seth Godin said it best in his post, “The Difference Between Management and Leadership”:
Managers work to get their employees to do what they did yesterday, but a little faster and a little cheaper.
Leaders, on the other hand, know where they’d like to go, but understand that they can’t get there without their tribe, without giving those they lead the tools to make something happen.
I say, let go and lead on! What do you want to be known as? Manager or Leader?
*Jim Meyers Post: Small Business Owners Need to Let Go