A Business Owner’s Guide to Letting Go of Control
Being a leader spearheading a particular venture can be a very tough job. It’s up to you to be the visionary, communicate the vision, motivate the team, troubleshoot any problems, and make sure the whole operation runs smoothly. Every business owner and entrepreneur understands the weight of these burdens. In that leadership position, it’s easy to fall into the mindset of “if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.”
This mentality, of course, is poison to a team: it leads to micromanaging, prevents healthy delegation, and stunts the growth and development of other team members. But learning to let go of those instincts to control every aspect of a business can be incredibly challenging for many business owners. If you struggle with micromanaging and letting go of responsibility, here are some thoughts on how to let go:
- Remember why you chose your team. Hopefully, the answer is because, bottom line, you liked them. You saw their skills, talents, and potential, and saw them as an asset to your company. If you believed in their merit enough to hire them, you should trust them enough to let them independently accomplish the tasks you delegate to them.
- Focus on your communication. Many workplace issues can be traced back to miscommunication, which often is simply the outcome of being too busy to stop and clearly articulate instructions and expectations. When communicating a task to a team member, slow down long enough to think through how you will communicate the details in a clear and concise manner. Realize that better communication may solve many of the problems you had been choking up to inadequacy.
- Don’t get stuck being a “do-er” instead of a leader. Entrepreneurs and business owners are innately programmed to be action-oriented. It’s why they start businesses, and why they tend to be successful at it. But as a company forms and continues to grow, it becomes the responsibility changes to leading the doing instead of doing the doing.
- Doing one thing well is better than doing many things poorly. You know what you’re good at. Focus on that. Let the people you’ve hired handle their areas of expertise. Trying to be involved in everything will ultimately limit your ability to continue growing and thriving your business.
- Don’t become irreplaceable. By micromanaging your team, you won’t empower them to take on the responsibilities that will allow them to grow. And without an empowered team, you work yourself into a corner of being irreplaceable. While it’s nice to know you’re needed, you will eventually become the blockage preventing growth. Not to mention you’ll never get to go on vacation.
A good leader’s goal should be to train people who work them out of a job. In other words, those you hire and train eventually are able to do what you do – but better. But developing that kind of leadership pipeline first requires an ability to let go of control.