Your business is your baby. You have worked hard, and your sacrifices have paid off — you have a team of excellent employees, and your company is growing more and more every day.
However, sooner or later, one of your innovative team members will come up with an idea that just does not represent the way you would do things. When this happens, you need to be able to step out of the way and empower him or her to succeed.
Of course, loosening your grip on the reins might be uncomfortable at first. It is hard to relax and passively let someone else take action on your company’s behalf. However, it is also important to remember that it is not all about you. Sure, you might be the CEO, the founder, the president or all 3, but once you start hiring people, it is up to them — not you — to do their jobs.
The Benefits of Autonomous Employees
I have experienced this myself. When my company was still young, I was burned out and exhausted. Suddenly, I had an epiphany. Would not my time be better spent bringing in more clients and making sure my team was successful, rather than micromanaging everyone? I made the change and never looked back.
To let go of some control, you need to develop a culture of trust in which your employees can maximize their professional development. This will naturally propel your company forward, as when people feel trusted, they are more motivated to succeed. As a result, you will have significantly more time to do your job, rather than worry about everyone else’s. Here are 3 benefits to empowering employees to pursue their ideas and projects:
You will develop and keep effective employees. Studies show that when you give your employees autonomy and allow them to set their own schedules, they will work longer hours because they want to — not because they have to. They will also be less likely to jump ship for your competitor down the street.
You will free yourself from busy work. As the company leader, you should not waste a second on work that is not completely worth your time. With a workforce of capable and trustworthy employees, you will not have to take another cold call ever again.
You will enhance your customer satisfaction. You are obviously an extremely capable individual to have gotten your company this far, but you do not know everything. By trusting employees to implement innovative solutions based on their unique perspectives, you will be able to produce services that are more valuable to your customers.
Let Your Employees Forge Their Own Paths
Once you have made the decision to take your company in this direction, the next step is to create a plan to get there.
By following these simple steps, you will enable your company to develop in a way that leads to the best outcomes for you, your customers and your employees:
- Hire trustworthy people and actively listen to them. Instead of hiring followers whom you micromanage, you should hire competent people you trust. Make sure you are actively listening to what they say and acting upon their input.
When an employee comes to you with a problem, do not immediately take over. Instead, ask the employee to come up with a solution, then work through it together. When you give your employees ownership over their work, they will take pride in their accomplishments.
- Delegate whenever possible. Your managers, supervisors and team leaders are the ones who should handle routine decision-making, not you. Done correctly, delegation fosters more satisfaction among employees, leading to a more effective workforce.
Remember that no one likes having a shadow. Following up on projects is one thing, but nit-picking is another. Leave your people alone, and let them know that you trust them to get their work done. Their creativity and motivation will surprise and inspire you.
- Set deadlines. Deadlines allow you to maintain control of tasks and projects that have been delegated to someone else without micromanaging. Clearly communicate your expectations, set specific dates for when tasks need to be accomplished and take a step back.
If you need a system to see progress, consider a management tool like Asana. It will allow you to quickly check on a project’s progress without drifting into micromanagement territory.
By giving your employees choices and allowing them to be the best they can be, you will earn their trust, respect and loyalty. While it may be tempting to maintain a command-and-control posture toward your business’s development, the fact is that you will be more successful if you hire people you trust and take a hands-off approach to managing them.
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.