“Empowering employees so that they can make good decisions is one of an entrepreneur’s most important tasks.”
– from Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School by Richard Branson
I agree with Richard Branson. Empowering your employees, contractors, and team members of any flavor so they can make good decisions on their own is one of your most important tasks as an entrepreneur and business leader.
Many of us who start our own businesses do it for the independence of being our own boss. We tend to enjoy the “do-it-yourself” aspect of running our companies. That’s great! It’s one of the things that makes us so good at our chosen profession. The downside to all that entrepreneurial spirit, is that when our companies grow large enough to require a team, we are still stuck in our DIY mode. We do less than we should to empower our people to do their jobs with all of their talents and abilities. Let’s be honest: Most of us entrepreneurs have a touch of the micro-manager in us.
How do you combat your inner control-freak and empower your team to be their independent best? It’s not as hard as you might think!
Set the stage for success. By establishing processes and systems, you create guidelines for how you want your business to do everyday business. Establish a hiring process to find great people with talent. Develop a workflow, organizational systems, and make it easy to train your team on how to do business your way. A little thought and effort upfront can eliminate confusion, mistakes and too much dependence on you as the owner. Remember, you want to empower your team to be excellent company representatives independent of your direct supervision.
Give your people a full tool box with which to work. That includes things like creating an employee manual, training, job descriptions and evaluations. These give your team members in-depth knowledge on how to be the best employee, contractor, or virtual assistant for YOU. Evaluate which tasks don’t need your personal touch, then delegate them to your well-trained people.
Revisit your systems, processes and work once in awhile. Evaluate what works, what slows you and your team down and even what to delete. Delete? Whether it is a glitch in your paperwork protocol or a product line that creates more headaches than profit, regular evaluations catch problems that affect your company morale and bottom line long before they can do significant damage. Evaluations also allow you to notice what is successful and expand or duplicate it to increase that success!
When your team knows exactly what you expect of them, how to do their jobs well and how to handle everything that happens during business-as-usual, they’ll be better equipped to handle the rare extraordinary situation and do a stellar job under pressure. They’ll be empowered to make great decisions independently and they’ll make you look like a superstar entrepreneur!
Empower your people, so they can power your business!
Chief Visionary Officer