What separates successful owners and managers from average or unsuccessful ones? One important trait winners share is their ability to delegate authority wisely and effectively. Those who delegate well live happier, healthier and more prosperous lives because they aren't forcing themselves to do too much. Because these bosses aren't overworked with routine chores best left to someone else, they have the time and energy to focus on larger, long-term issues affecting the business. In short, they have time to think, to plan.
Bosses who don't delegate are doomed to limited success, marginal growth and endless aggravation, worry and heartburn.
This bears repeating because I meet these characters everywhere I travel. Perhaps if the message is repeated enough, some of them will learn they needn't carry the weight of the entire service shop or tire store on their shoulders.
These are the men and women who often wonder aloud how they'll clone themselves to get their chores done. However, learning to delegate is a more-immediate and reliable fix.
Non-delegators tend to be insecure and defensive about theirmanagement style. They often brag that they've operated this way all their lives and the business is still running. Besides learning how to delegate, they need to recognize the difference between being lucky and being smart.
A powder-keg personality is synonymous with the do-it-all boss, so long-term employees at their shops are rare. Usually, it takes a few years for capable people to realize they don't like working for or with this individual.
So the entire staff turns over every couple years and the business lacks continuity, an esprit de corps. But luckily the shop is in an area abundant with cheap labor, so it's endured all the turnovers.
Of course, high turnover and mediocre-to-poor service go hand-in-hand. But here the owner who can't delegate lucks out again. His service shop or tire store is in such a high-traffic location there's a constant flow of fresh service prospects to draw upon.
The successful boss has a knack for delegating authority wisely and effectively. Here's a practical example of a small first step an obstinate do-it-all boss can take toward recovery-toward delegating as successfully as managers who do it every day.
Many do-it-all owners don't know what it means to chew food, taste it and actually enjoy it. Assuming they don't already have an ulcer, their stomachs are in turmoil. These people inhale breakfast in order to get in early enough to open the store. Then they inhale dinner so they can race back to close up in the evening.
Solution? Delegate these duties to a capable, deserving worker. First preference should be someone who's demonstrated he's reliable and maybe arrives early, anyway. Second preference would be a reliable go-getter who's willing to come in earlier than normal. The boss should watch for someone as detail-oriented as he is.
The boss should confirm that the worker gets extra pay for these duties, but must pass a one-month trial to retain these extra responsibilities and pay raise. If it doesn't work out, it's no disgrace.
People who resist delegating authority tend to be sticklers for detail. Whether or not that's the case, Mr. Boss should still prepare a checklist so the worker knows what's supposed to be done every morning and evening. That eliminates any confusion about what to do, in what order and when.
The other part of successful delegation is empowering the worker.
In this example, Mr. Boss has to call a staff meeting where he explains that he's assigned responsibility for the daily opening and closing of the store to a particular chosen worker. He must impress upon everyone that in his absence, this worker has the final say.
Many bosses say they're soured on delegation because when they tried it, poor morale and dissension was the result. Usually, morale problems occur because the boss didn't empower the worker to whom he delegated authority.
Unless the boss communicates this personally and persuasively, people won't believe their coworker really has the final say-so when the boss is out of the shop.
Before long, Mr. Do-it-all's health and disposition begin improving because he needn't inhale his meals any longer. It's the first step to convincing him delegation works. More on this one next time.