Typically speaking, a company’s vision can’t be achieved by the business owner alone. Delegation creates the potential for success through expansion and growth, but it’s only half of the equation. Capable, well-trained team members are the other half. To help fill our shoes, we hire and train managers. But over the years, I’ve talked to my fair share of managers that have absolutely no clue what they actually manage. This is where as leaders we can easily fall short and detrimentally impact our company’s success.
When I started my first business and hired my first employee, I had no idea of the wild ride I was in for; I might as well have ridden the Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey without a harness. (The Kingda Ka is rated one of the scariest roller coasters in the U.S. by the way, it’s crazy-tall with the longest initial drop. Just check out the video below, it’s crazy.)
Oh yeah, we were talking about management. Basically, the business grew ridiculously fast and before I knew it, there wasn’t enough time in the day to get everything on my plate done. In an attempt to free up my time to hire and train more employees to handle the load, I piled as much onto my very capable employee’s plate as I could. (This would be strike one.)
Naturally, as I brought on more employees they began to report to me. Time became an extremely scarce resource as I added handling employee problems to my plate. Before I could blink twice, I had no time for the business production. It became a no-brainer that I needed to sit down with my senior employee, offer her a raise, and give her the coveted position and title of “Manager.” Being the capable person she was, with little training from me, she quickly took it upon herself to manage the business. (This would be strike two.)
Like many new managers, she didn’t know how to say “no” or delegate, and with the ever increasing responsibilities of more employees, it didn’t take long until she was overstressed, run down, and ready to quit. Like most of you can probably relate, I relied so heavily upon her that I couldn’t afford for her to quit. So of course, I offered her more money to stay, because she did things that no one else knew how to do. (This would be strike three.)
It didn’t take long to realize she had me in golden handcuffs.
Obviously, offering her more money to stay was just as effective as using an umbrella in a hurricane. Of course, she didn’t last much longer, because money wasn’t the issue; it was the workload and lack of leadership on my part. But at the time, I didn’t realize this. I was looking through the keyhole with my glass eye. When I realized where I had gone wrong, it made all the difference. Had I clearly communicated her role and my expectations, as well as provided the proper training, I could have saved us both a lot of time and stress.
Over my many years of training managers, I have learned a lot. I have plenty of stories to share, but I also have a truck load of knowledge I’ve acquired in the meantime. I’d like to share this knowledge with you. This will not give you the in-depth understanding you should seek, but it will give you solid guidelines to move your company in the right direction.
“In vain have you acquired knowledge if you have not imparted it to others.” —Deuteronomy Rabbah
For most small businesses, we can divide management into two roles: office management and production management. Think of the Office Manager (OM) as the person that creates your business structure (the machine) and the Production Manager (PM) as the person that uses that structure to crank out lots of valuable product (drive the machine).
Here is a condensed list of their roles:
When these two roles are being fulfilled, it creates a growing, thriving business that efficiently produces a lot of valuable products/services to exchange for money! The only difference between a company with 5 or 500 employees, is the number of team leaders and the volume of team members on each team. Regardless, team leaders report to the OM and PM, which in turn, the OM and PM report to the executive. With this structure, business gets done! But in order for everything to function effectively and efficiently, our managers HAVE TO KNOW WHAT TO MANAGE. Otherwise, we’re still doing all the work, or the work isn’t getting done. Either way, it’s bad bad bad if you’re trying to become a viable business.
Clear communication on role expectations and responsibilities is pivotal to business operations and production, for team members, team leaders, and especially, our managers. When your managers know what to manage, it frees up your time to focus on other important facets of your business. Only with proper delegation can efficiency and development take place, and only with clear communication can proper delegation take place.
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