Ownership/Leadership Delegation

A common attribute of company owners is there tendency to micro-manage and closely hold onto the operations of the company. They insist on being part of too many decisions and business practices that should be delegated to properly recruited and trained employees. However, the initiative, drive, product/market knowledge and independent problem solving skills that were fundamental in the founding of the business become a major obstacle to the efficient operation of the company as the size of the business exceeds their ability to handle it all.

The wise owner soon realizes that there are not enough hours in the day to be integral in the many details that need attention. He or she understands that they cannot be absorbed on one issue while two or more others stand waiting in line. They realize that the intimate knowledge and exposure they used to have of the business needs to be delegated to trained and trusted employees that are prepared to demonstrate that they “own” that area of the business as much or more than the owner.

Wise owners adjust where they get their satisfaction in the business by seeing others do what, in the past, only they could do. Transferring the primary roles of sales, product or operations leadership to other competent employees and helping them grow is where their greatest value can be applied to the company.

We can be obsessed with our importance and our self esteem becomes wrapped up in what we do at work. This is a trap! The harder you work to prove your ability, you find yourself on a treadmill of always proving yourself and demonstrating your importance. However, as we increase the hours that we work in our companies, are we just satisfying our need to be important or are we laying the foundation for others to eventually step in and take over. The test is what happens when you leave the company for a few days or take a two week vacation – without checking e-mail.

If on your return days or two weeks later, for example, and your staff clearly demonstrates that they stepped in and dealt with the normal and unexpected activities of the business then you are doing a good job. On the other hand, if you return and find chaos then you are surely wanted to get everything back into control but what happens next time. Will your customers be willing to hang in the wind when you are out next time? You may justify this condition by telling yourself how important your are to the company as you perform damage control but you clearly represent a critical liability to the company. One that needs immediate attention to avoid what happens when the proverbial truck happens to meet you in the road.

If you can’t let go then get help! The following details what steps you can take.

  • Have someone look over your shoulder to help you develop a plan to delegate the critical priorities of your job to others either permanently or in a secondary role.
  • Establish priorities to spend time developing people to improve their skills to handle more responsibility.
  • Hold yourself accountable on a regular basis to developing others.
  • Intentionally reassign meeting responsibilities that you used to handle, formally designate responsibilities to key people so that other employees know who is the primary person to contact, and direct others employees to them when they try to get you involved.
  • Have regular meetings with your reports to go over how they are handling their responsibilities. Do not take control when emergencies reach a critical stage. Ask the responsible manager what they recommend, give them options to consider, help them make the decision and if necessary help them execute the decision.
  • Where necessary make personnel changes to make sure you have the right people in the right positions that are rewarding for them and the company.

Effectively delegating ownership and leadership responsibilities is healthy for the company, helps it grow, keeps vital and valuable employees in the company and provides the opportunity for a balanced life for the real owner – you!

Leave a Reply