Okay, so all leaders initially suffer from Founder’s Disease. Whether you own your own business or you work in someone else’s, you’re probably bright, hardworking, and good at a lot of things. That makes it awfully hard to delegate responsibility and authority to someone else, because deep down inside you pretty much know that they couldn’t possibly do the job as well as you could. Can I get an “amen?”
If you want to build an organization, and you don’t delegate well, however, you will die. Either your organizational growth will die because you become the decision bottleneck that holds it back, or you literally will die from the pure stress of trying to do too much for too long.
I’m working with several CEO’s currently who fit this description. They’re great people who are making great money and a great contribution to our society, but I’m worried about them.
Delegation isn’t easy to do at all, much less to do it well. As they say, however, “necessity is a real mother,” or something along those lines.
- Hire competent and trustworthy people you can delegate to. If you don’t have these folks in place, then you’re unlikely to get a good night’s sleep until you do.
- Give clear goals and measures of success to the person you’re delegating to. Leave no doubt about what you want done and by when.
- Let them do it their way rather than exactly how you’d do it. Their style is likely to be a little different than yours, but what does it matter as long as they do quality work?
- Check in with the person regularly to track progress so that you don’t find out about mistakes until it’s a full-blown train wreck with damage that can’t be undone.
- Expect that the person will make mistakes, learn from them, and become an even stronger player on your team because they’ve learned to take responsibility and trust their own competence.
- Be available for consultation in between your formal check ins.
- Congratulate them heartily when they succeed, and they’ll be excited to take on even more responsibility next time! Then, congratulate yourself for your hard won progress in overcoming Founder’s Disease–you’re becoming an ever-more-effective leader!