Picture this: You’re the leader, CEO, or founder of your organization. You’re in the trenches, working day in and day out to keep your business running smoothly. But the more you find yourself buried in the daily grind, the less time you’re investing in growing your organization. If this sounds like your current situation, it’s time for a reality check: to scale your business, you have to take a step (or several steps) back to move forward.
This doesn’t mean simply handing off responsibilities left, right, and center. Instead, it’s about empowering your team, creating efficient systems, and fostering a sense of ownership among your employees. Because, let’s face it, as leaders, sometimes we become our own employees, doing everything from strategizing to unclogging the office coffee machine and – while there’s absolutely a time for this – if it’s all the time, you’ve got a serious problem on your hands.
The concept is simple: Give up to go up.
But it’s a step that many of us struggle with. It’s about reassessing what tasks you should be focusing on and identifying who else could handle the others.
Let’s call this the 10-80-10 process: You do the first 10% of the task, Align the strategy, explaining the process and expectations to your team member. (We need to talk about believing in your team that they can execute at the desired level…..msot don’t because they lack confidence in their staff)They take over for the next 80%, while you provide support, and finally, you step back in for the last 10% to review, support project delivery and provide feedback to the team. This approach is far from burdening your team; it makes them feel trusted, valued, and capable. And who knows, they might even do it better than you!
I’ll share an anecdote for you here: A CEO of a large brokerage firm, once so intricately involved in every process, made a decision to hand off a chunk of his responsibilities. The result? He freed up an unimaginable amount of time, and the employee who took on the task felt more involved and committed to the organization’s success. The person who took over this task also did it better than the CEO had been doing it because he cared more: it wasn’t just a task that needed to be done; it was something that he could invest himself into and be proud of.
Stepping back to move forward isn’t just about task delegation, either; it’s about enabling your employees to step up, take on more responsibilities, and contribute to the company’s growth. Your team grows at an accelerated rate with increased confidence when this happens
The key here is to coach your team through the processes – define, measure, improve. You’re not just throwing the keys at them and hoping for the best, but rather entrusting them with a new challenge and guiding them through it.
The caveat, of course, is that this process absolutely has to be intentional. Don’t just dump tasks on your team and run. That’s not leadership; that’s shit. Empower them. Make them feel important. When they’re brought in to do new work, make sure they understand its value and how it contributes to the bigger picture.
And remember that stepping back as a leader isn’t a sign of weakness or lack of control. It’s about enabling growth – for your team, your organization, and for you. It’s about creating systems that allow your organization to thrive, even when you’re not in the driver’s seat. So, ask yourself, are you spending more time running your business or growing it? If it’s the former, let’s talk.