“No-one is forthcoming with ideas in this place. The business would stagnate if I wasn’t involved at every level.”
A complaint made by a Managing Director client who believed they had to do everything themselves or the work wouldn’t get done.
They were misguided.
When I spoke with members of the leadership team it transpired they were frothing with ideas; they had simply given up voicing them because their boss didn’t listen. Described as a ‘control-freak’ by their colleagues, this MD made team members feel de-valued and unappreciated. Believing that they were unable to contribute in any meaningful way, they were going through the motions and most had designs to leave the organisation.
A big contributing factor to increased employee effectiveness at all levels of the organisation is the ability to let go of the need to do everything yourself. If you are the founder of your business then believe me, I get it. For some considerable time (unless you bought the company as a going concern) you have to wear many, if not every hat and if you don’t do everything yourself it really doesn’t get done. Nevertheless, at some point in the business life cycle we have to take a step back; devolve many of the day-to-day responsibilities to others and focus on the strategic role of running the business.
To do that you have to be able to trust that in giving your people autonomy and responsibility they won’t let you down.
One CEO I worked for told me he liked that fact that whilst I made mistakes – and it happens to us all; particularly when we take risks and try new things – I never made the same mistake twice. Rather I would learn from it and move on. He was willing to let me stand by the courage of my convictions even when he disagreed with them because he knew I would own and deal with any fallout. He could also trust (because it happened time and again) that he wouldn’t have to step in and pick up the pieces and that more often than not my approach paid off.
Teaching your people that it’s okay to be creative in their remit and to have the confidence to act on their ideas will increase their productivity. This, in turn will improve business performance; so long as you teach them to take responsibility for their actions and the resulting consequences.