Rapid growth in business is exciting and the implications can be daunting. Perhaps you’ve taken on a heap of new clients or experienced an influx of new customers recently. Like any business, you’ll start to realise you can’t keep up with your workload on your own, and that you need to hire more people.
Reflecting on his lessons learned in business, Bill Gates mentioned the key to success for any business leader is to learn how to delegate better. He admits this did not come easily to him when Microsoft undertook rapid expansion. Gates needed to learn how to delegate and trust other peoples’ ability to do parts of his job. As his management responsibilities grew further, he discovered he also had to learn to delegate his weaknesses to other peoples’ strengths.
If you’ve been controlling and managing every aspect of your business, passing responsibilities onto new people can be challenging. Read on to discover the importance of delegating your weaknesses when undergoing rapid business growth, and how to approach this.
To start delegating your weaknesses, the first step is to hire the right people.
HIRE FOR ATTITUDE, NOT JUST SKILLS
When companies experience rapid growth, there is intense pressure to hire and hire fast. In these situations, it can be incredibly tempting to hire from within your network of friends or professional connections. Hiring someone you know can help safeguard your business if you already trust them, and would likely save time during the recruitment process.
However, hiring someone with a great disposition does not guarantee they can handle the required tasks for the job. Hence, when writing up job ads, be as specific as possible when outlining the required skills, experience and certifications needed to complete the job effectively. Consider how you will hire for your weaknesses, to ensure you’re making the best possible investment for your business.
You’ll find the right person for the job won’t necessarily meet every requirement. However, a key thing employers often miss is truly being able to assess a prospective employee’s attitude. Skills can be taught, while a bad attitude will hurt you every time. So while you may be able to gauge their skills and experience level during the interview stage, developing a few test questions relevant to the role and your business will gain you a lot of insight into how someone is likely to perform day-in, day-out.
BATTLE YOUR PERSONAL BIASES
Unfortunately, our personal biases risk drawing us to people who look, think and act like us. These internal biases often prevent us from hiring the best candidates for the role, and the business ultimately suffers. So to ensure you build the sort of team that has diverse skillsets (rather than unconsciously recruiting more of your own), ensure that during the recruitment process you resist making any explicit or implicit assumptions based on presumptions about what people who feel different to you may or may not bring to the table.
Diversity of many types is often a major strength, with a key consideration being how well the applicants’ attitudes align with your company values and culture.
Once you have hired the right people, it’s time to start delegating.
EMBRACE YOUR WEAKNESSES
When delegating, you need to remember why you hired staff in the first place. You’ll soon find that effective leadership requires identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your team, including yourself. Identifying your weaknesses delegating these to your staff’s strengths will maximise your businesses’ productivity.
OUTLINE THE ‘WHY’ BEHIND EVERY TASK
You know every task you set has a purpose. But your employees aren’t always aware of this. It’s therefore critical to communicate the ‘why’ that underpins the tasks you delegate to your team. This involves giving team members context regarding what the task will achieve, the components of the task and why it’s important. This helps increase motivation from your staff to complete the job, and complete it well.
SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
To get your team motivated, outline the work your business does and how they play an important role in keeping the show running. Then, ensure you have articulated what is expected of your employees so there’s no confusion regarding what is expected of them.
Carefully consider the unique skills of your team when delegating your weaknesses. To know who to delegate to for each unique task, you need to be familiar with each team member to know their knowledge, experience and preferred work style.
As well as considering the varied skill set of your team, leaders need to consider their staff’s current workload and capacity to take on extra work when delegating.
EMBRACE UNIQUE WORKSTYLES
Instead of overly comparing your staff’s work style to your own, focus instead on the results they are producing. Encourage creativity of your staff rather than micro-managing their tasks. Offering your team control over their tasks empowers them by building their confidence and independence.
RECOGNISE HARD WORK
Business owners and leaders are incredibly busy people. While they have a lot on their mind, it’s critical they recognise when their employees have worked hard and achieved good results. As humans, our brains are wired to desire praise. When you recognise an employee’s good performance, they are more likely to feel satisfied and appreciated in their job. Plus, this could save your business – a lack of recognition is an incredibly common reason why employees leave their employers.