World Bee Day was last week. It got me thinking about a great question for so many business leaders. Are you a leader or a worker bee?
A lot of people who own or manage a business fall into the trap of trying to do everything themselves. The passion and energy that it takes to build a business can get caught up in the emotional mindset of protecting it from the “not as good at doing it as I would do it” or “it will just take me a few minutes and then I know it’s done” mindset habit.
But here’s the thing. How much do you value yourself and your years, dare I say decades, of experience? Why are you still completing the tasks of people with much less experience than yourself? Why aren’t you outsourcing functions to specialists who can do it for you? Awesome leadership skills are what has got you to where you are today, managing the minutiae is something that you can delegate to your management team.
We all enjoy doing what we are good at, it gives us a sense of achievement. Comfort zones are great places for a bit of respite from the pressure of great leadership. But hang there for too long and someone else will come along with a strategy and vision; or that brilliant new idea that you should have been working on to take your business to the next level. The other thing is that when you are down there in the trenches knee deep in the daily grind of running a business, it is virtually impossible for your brain to be free-styling with brilliant new ideas.
I’m not saying it’s not tough; a great leader needs to be adaptable, good at communication, an agile and strategic thinker, charismatic and frankly quite likeable too. As I said earlier, it’s these great skills that got you to where you are today. Being all of those things all of the time is exhausting, so the trick is to share the load. Delegate and empower your direct reports to get things done. Communicate your objectives clearly, trust them to explore their own way to achieve goals, even when there is the odd mistake. These are critical qualities to building a team who will be inspired and motivated but more importantly they will walk over hot coals for you day in, day out . . . and that’s the kind of team that makes an awesome business.
When that is achieved, you will have reached leadership nirvana because your loyal and trusted team will always want to make you look awesome . . . whether it’s to your boss, your business partner or the board.