Your business is your baby. You’ve 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 doesn’t represent the way you’d 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’s hard to relax and passively let someone else take action on your company’s behalf. But it’s also important to remember that it’s not all about you. Sure, you might be the CEO, the founder, the president or all three, but once you start hiring people, it’s up to them — not you — to do their jobs.
The Benefits of Autonomous Employees
I’ve experienced this myself. When my company was still young, I was burned out and exhausted. Suddenly, I had an epiphany. Wouldn’t 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’re more motivated to succeed. As a result, you’ll have significantly more time to do your job, rather than worry about everyone else’s. Here are three benefits to empowering employees to pursue their ideas and projects:
- You’ll develop and keep effective employees. Studies show that when you give your employees autonomy and allow them to set their own schedules, they’ll work longer hours because they want to, not because they have to. They’ll also be less likely to jump ship for your competitor down the street.
- You’ll free yourself from busy work. As the company leader, you shouldn’t waste a second on work that isn’t completely worth your time. With a workforce of capable and trustworthy employees, you won’t have to take another cold call ever again.
- You’ll enhance your customer satisfaction. You’re obviously an extremely capable individual to have gotten your company this far, but you don’t know everything. By trusting employees to implement innovative solutions based on their unique perspectives, you’ll be able to produce services that are more valuable to your customers.
Let Your Employees Forge Their Own Paths
Once you’ve 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’ll enable your company to develop in a way that leads to the best outcomes for you, your customers and your employees.
1. 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’re actively listening to what they say and acting upon their input.
When an employee comes to you with a problem, don’t 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’ll take pride in their accomplishments.
2. 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, which leads 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.
3. 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’ll 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’ll be more successful if you hire people you trust and take a hands-off approach to managing them.