Are you too busy working to reach your top priorities and goals? Does it seem like you have to do both yours and your employees’ jobs? Does it seem like the harder you work, the further behind you get? Do managers and employees line up outside your door or continually call you to make decisions for them? I hear the same comments and questions on repeat from business owners, such as:
- “I can’t find any good help.”
- “Nobody around here is accountable or responsible.”
- “I’m the only one who cares about doing a good job.”
- “I’m the only one smart enough to make decisions.”
- “Why do I constantly get questions from employees asking me to solve their problems?”
You Are the Problem
It is likely that you have trained your employees to ask you for answers to every problem, situation or decision on a regular basis. They have become afraid to make decisions, develop solutions, be accountable and solve their own problems. Why? Because when they do make a decision and it’s not what you would have chosen, you criticize them, question their judgement or overrule their decision.
Guess what? The next time they need to make a decision, they aren’t going to do so in order to avoid the pain of your tyrannical behavior. Problems and solutions always have at least two people involved—one to solve the problem and one to supervise it.
When someone comes to you to say, “We have a problem,” that problem is now yours to handle. When you say, “Let me think it over and get back to you,” you have volunteered to solve their problem for them. You have now switched roles—you’re the employee and they’re your boss, and they’re waiting for you to solve their problem.
When you make decisions, you own them and the potential consequences. When you accept the decision-making role from your people, they rely on you to solve their problems. I bet your people think you like to solve their problems, as you gladly accept their requests and provide them with the answers they want. The more problems you solve, the more problems they drop in your lap. Before you know it, they are entirely dependent on you.
You Are Also the Solution
The common vision of most construction business owners is to build a successful company run by a strong management team—one that is accountable and capable of doing the work and achieving results. Most owners are tired of making every decision for everyone. They are also tired of telling people what to do all day, holding people accountable and making sure the work is completed properly.
The solution begins with recognizing that you might be the problem that is holding back your team from reaching its potential. Good employees are limited by controlling managers who don’t let them become valuable assets to their companies. Most people have the potential to perform at a higher level, but aren’t trusted to make their own decisions. To boot, owners who don’t clearly define the roles of each employee, such as responsibilities and levels of authority, create an unsure atmosphere, leaving employees wondering when to act or make decisions without approval.
To build a business that can grow and generate high profit margins, you must hire, promote, mentor and develop responsible people. Those people must be empowered to achieve results by making things happen and solving problems without micromanagement. By delegating and empowering your people, you can focus on your top priorities, like finding new customers, mentoring talent and improving systems in the company.
Can your business work without you? Pause for a moment and review the checklist below. The more statements you find to be true, the more your business relies on you. Your company’s ability to grow is restricted by what you can control and decide. Your people are frustrated with the fact they aren’t trusted or allowed to become their best. So, now what?
Let Management Lead
To begin building a full-charge management team, start working with one of your top managers. For you to properly delegate and trust your team, each person must know exactly what their role demands. Building a strong management team requires a clearly defined chain of command defined by your organizational chart. This includes results, accountabilities, responsibilities, tasks, reports, meetings, deadlines, financial level of authority and what decisions require their manager’s approval to move forward.
The ability for employees to make decisions within their authorized limits must to be allowed, without question or discussion with their superior. When asked for help solving problems and making important business decisions, the manager must ask the questioner for solutions before jumping in or telling them what to do.
Give your managers the ability to make decisions for you at an increased level of authority. They will need regular coaching, mentoring, checklists and meetings with you to develop their skills as a manager. And, when you add more tasks to their plate, you’ll also have to cut out some of their workload to allow them to prosper and assume some of your duties.
Eventually, you will have a loyal, top-notch manager who will become an integral part of your company’s future and be pivotal to helping it grow.
To build a successful company fueled by smart, empowered people, you must first recognize that, as an owner, you are the root of the problem. Without trust in your teams, your business is stuck, and you’ll continue to be overworked and stressed out, without ever seeing the results you want.