Divide and conquer - The importance of delegating meetings
I don't know about you, but there is nothing more annoying than an event having to be changed to accommodate one person at the last minute. There are plenty of meetings or events I would have liked to have attended, but I had to let go and put the other attendees first. Unless you have to be 100% at a meeting, it is OK to delegate.
I tend to see this with companies who have a very controlling owner/founder. They are unable to trust or feel they need to be involved in every decision. The reality is as your business grows, you are going to have to trust others and learn to balance commitments. Not being able to react quickly, could leave you behind the competition.
Maybe some founders think they need to be seen. But you have to start to appreciate priorities for your times and that of others when you run a business. As an example, I had offered my time to do volunteer work with a charity. A number of us were invited in for a Q&A session. At the last minute, it had been cancelled because the founder wanted to be there.
I am sure others were put out as a result as well. For me, the recruitment person was the key person I had to meet. It has now put me off because:
1. They appear disorganised.
2. I now have the impression the recruiter is not trusted to do their job.
3. The founder will slow down basic decisions as they will need to green light everything.
4. The founder has an ego. Will they give credit to others for the work they do? Probably not.
Some of the above may seem harsh, but these are the optics you give out to those on the outside.
And that is the key point I want to get across. While you may innocently ask someone to re-arrange a meeting because you are keen to go, have a think first about how others will perceive your actions. Do not fall for FOMO (fear of missing out).
Point 2 from above is extremely important to address if you want to delegate effectively. As you grow your business you will have to have people with skills that can enhance your business. Having people, you can trust to take some of the weight off your shoulders. Certainly not to replace you, but employees who you can trust to communicate the companies purpose and gather information from potential customers or vendors.
How many meetings have you gone to, where you have walked away feeling you had wasted 1-2 hours of your life? Exactly, why not have someone else do the initial meeting and feedback key points. That way, you can priorities meeting key customers and important contacts. As I like to say, divide and conquer.
If employees come up with a great idea, let them have the credit. As their leader/manager, you will need to consider their development and by training them in your approach you will be able to let them run projects for you and make day to day decisions. Giving you the final say on major spending and strategies.
Long term, by sourcing and retaining the right employees for your business you can delegate decisions. As long as an employee understands the budget, who cares what brand of a pen they buy or coffee they get. Do not waste your time on trivial decisions. Allow for common sense but set out clear guidelines from the start.
If you interfere too much with every aspect of the business you will lose strong staff and fail to empower people who could grow with your company. You will also come across as difficult by potential customers, clients and investors.
It is never an admission of failure to delegate. It demonstrates self-awareness that you have only a finite number of hours a day. Also, while you may feel you are perceived as being less creative or innovative by letting employees take credit, what you need to remember is that people are now respecting you as a leader - who can spot and retain talent.
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