Long long ago, when I was first learning to be a manager with McDonald’s, I was taught that it was my responsibility to take each new employee that walked through the door and not only train them to be a productive team member, but also develop them as a person.
In other words, to give every team member the skills they needed to do their job well and help them to grow in confidence, become a fully rounded human being, and ultimately, fulfil their potential. In my experience that’s what each employee could expect – from day one, until the day they left.
As a business owner I’ve always taken the same approach with my team – helping them to do the job they were hired to do, well, but also pushing them beyond their comfort zone, challenging them to do more than they thought they could, giving them the support and encouragement they need, to become the best they can be.
All good people managers recognise that they have a responsibility to help their team members to fulfil their potential, and to do that, they have to look for ways to develop them beyond the day to day of their role.
So how do you do that? How do you take raw talent, unearthed potential, and develop and hone it into something remarkable?
Clearly the first step is to train them well, using your How To Guides and checklists, making sure that they understand how to perform their role to your high standards, and the need to take full ownership for it.
Then, onto this foundation of excellence, you build their broader skills – the skills that will help them grow as a person.
In next week’s blog we’ll go into a number of ways you can do this, but for now I want to focus in on just one…
I’d put money on the fact that you’ve been told more than once, that if you want to have any time at all as a people manager you need to learn to delegate. All too often though, because it’s viewed solely as a time-saver, there’s a temptation to dump rather than delegate – getting rid of all the tasks you hate, just because you can.
Delegation will definitely save you time, and it will help you to get away from tasks that you don’t really need to be doing; that take you out of flow and away from the areas of your job that add most value; but, it’s also a brilliant way of developing a member of your team and raising their confidence levels by showing that you clearly trust and respect them and their ability to do a good job.
Reasons why managers don’t delegate
Reason 1 Loss of control
Often managers/business owners won’t delegate because they don’t want to give up control; they’re protecting themselves. They either don’t trust the team member to do a good enough job, or they believe their team member may do a better job than they could – and either outcome will make them look bad.
These managers clearly lack self confidence, and miss the point that your aim as a manager is to replace yourself in your current role, to give you freedom and room to grow into your next.
I was always taught to surround myself with the brightest people I could – people who were quick learners, smart, motivated, people with initiative – so that I could delegate to them, give them ownership and then get out of their way while they did the job that freed me to focus on the things that fit my skill level way better.
I love it when my team members are better at certain things than I am. Do you?
Reason 2 It takes too long
Oh if I had a fiver for every time I’ve heard that! ‘I can just do it myself – it’s so much quicker’. It’s the sort of mindset that impedes growth; growth of the employee and growth of the business.
The manager or owner with this mindset becomes a bottleneck in the business.
They don’t recognise that taking time to invest now will reap dividends going forward. It’s a really short term view.
Reason 3 My team member will resent it
This is a cracker! Believing that because you hate the task that you want to delegate, that your team member will view it that way too, and believe you are dumping it on them. But if you choose the right person, somebody who will be good at it, then that’s how you sell the task to them.
You can actually say to them, ‘I really don’t like this task. I can do it, but it takes me a lot longer than it would take you. I know you enjoy this sort of thing and I’d love you to learn how to do this task and take it off my plate.’
It’s good to have a team-focused mindset as a manager or business owner – to be willing to do jobs that you are asking your team to do. But there are tasks that only you can do and you have skills that other people still have to learn if they’re going to grow and develop.
So, learning to delegate, giving responsibility with development, gives you a win, win, win:
- Your employee grows and develops, increasing engagement with your business
- You have more time longer-term to concentrate on where you can best add value
- You cease to be a bottleneck, allowing your business to grow.
Do one thing: identify a task to delegate, a team member to delegate to and get developing.
NB Team Development is step 4 of a 9 step roadmap that we lead our clients along, to build the business-critical systems that will make their business sale-ready, and free them from their day to day operation.