How To Not Micromanage Your Startup
This blog post was originally written for Forbes and can be found here.
We've all been there: Even though we know that it's not productive, the need to oversee and overanalyze all aspects of our growing companies is second nature. In the early days, CEOs and founders are end-to-end management before they have the ability to put a team in place. These days can be exhausting and are, frankly, not sustainable.
During this period of time, you are end-to-end management, and success relies solely on you. But if your startup has grown and you've been able to put a team in place, it's important to put an end to micromanaging.
Put simply, micromanaging can be detrimental to any organization. It contributes to high stress, high turnover and low productivity across the board. So, how do we get out of our own way? How do we stop micromanaging our startups?
1. Hire the right people and train them well.
When you hire the right employees who demonstrate work ethic and accountability, you create an accountable culture. Once they're hired, train them incredibly well and provide them with the resources they need to be successful. This may be one area where micromanaging is positive because the extra instruction and guidance can help to improve the onboarding experience.
2. Share your vision, mission and goals.
Don't just delegate tasks—take the time to share with your team the vision and mission of your company as a whole and also the vision for the work they do. Tell them why it's important and what you expect from them. Set them up with strong processes, organizational structure and feedback mechanisms. Be clear with goals.
3. Encourage and empower your senior leadership team.
Remind them that they have decision-making power and don't have to wait for you for all decisions. They might make mistakes, but you must give them the room to make them. Share the wins and the losses as a team.
4. Set up a structure for you to be briefed on high-impact items or projects.
Consider asking your team to brief you on only the highest-impact projects. It can be nerve-wracking not to be "in the know" on client files, but as your company grows, it will be impossible for you to know everything at all times. Set up high-level briefings with your senior leadership team to review status updates, pressing items or other very important matters. This will give your team opportunities to showcase their work and, hopefully, give you confidence that everything is well-managed and under control.
5. Redirect your focus to things you really should be thinking about.
Time spent micromanaging is time spent away from truly important tasks, like strategic planning, new business development and long-term growth plans. When we can let go of the day-to-day, we can redirect that energy to the things that keep our companies running smoothly (and profitably).
6. Recognize your own limits.
It is a common characteristic of many CEOs and leaders to want to do it all, but we have to recognize that we have limits and cannot pour from an empty cup. To run your company successfully, you have to have a healthy mind and a healthy body. When you learn that the ship won't sink if you take a break, you provide freedom and empowerment to your team while also providing yourself with rest and rejuvenation.
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