Don’t be afraid to let go and grow!

Do you manage your practice — or are you a control freak, always trying to arrange, contain and maneuver people and events? Do you trust your employees or are you guilty of second-guessing and overriding their efforts?

If you’re afraid to let go of some responsibility (and details), you’re a micromanager, and your approach stems from emotion, not business sense. The fear of letting go can sabotage your progress, and instead of moving forward, you’ll remain stuck in the status quo. Isn’t it smarter to overcome your fear? Why not let go and grow?

I’ve asked financial advisors why they can’t let go, and their rationales are revealing:

  • “Employees might make mistakes”
  • “I can do everything better myself”
  • “Employees will never take the initiative”
  • “I just don’t think about delegating more often”
  • “Employees will embarrass me or tarnish my company’s reputation”
  • “How will I know if work is actually done?”
  • “Employees can’t read my mind, and it takes too long to explain things”
  • “Our systems aren’t defined; no one is accountable”
  • “My staff can’t keep up”

That kind of thinking is extremely shortsighted. A good staff, whether it’s one person or fifty, is a blessing, not a hindrance. Capable employees can build and enhance your business — you just need to let them.

How can you change?

Relax your grip! Yes, you should know what’s going on in your business, but don’t insist on unnecessary involvement. If you handle every little detail or transaction, you’ll never have time to explore new (and profitable) opportunities. You won’t do what you really enjoy or focus primarily on moneymaking activities.

Like most advisors, you have high professional standards and probably believe no one else can do the job as well. That may be true to an extent, but once you train your employees, they can handle the daily workflow and details. Remember, your employees are not you — and that’s a good thing. You need a balanced team to strengthen your business. Surround yourself with bright people who bring different talents and experience to the table.

Train your staff thoroughly. Training is often overlooked, but it is absolutely essential. Spell out your employees’ duties and teach them everything they need to know about the job. People deserve to know how they fit into the business and why their role is important. Remember, you had to learn the ropes and no doubt made a few mistakes along the way; be patient and arm your staff with complete information and directions.

Delegate early and often. Don’t wait until the last minute to assign a task. Delegate in advance so employees can do a good job. Also, get in the habit of delegating to the right person consistently. If you need someone to schedule your appointments, select a team member for the job and delegate to him or her only. Also, during the delegation process, establish priorities and deadlines. Sometimes employees don’t know what to do first. If they’re spending too much time on customer service, for example, let them know why appointment-scheduling is their first priority. In dealing with employees, follow Pellegrini’s Golden Rule of Business: “If you give them what they need, they’ll give you more of what you want.”

Trust your employees. Don’t give lip service to trust – act on it. Once employees are trained properly, step back and let them do their job. If you want an update on a project, say so, but otherwise, just assume the work will be done in a timely fashion.

Finally, be a leader. Not long ago I convinced a client to let go and grow. A former control freak, he is making a concerted (and successful) effort to lead, not micromanage. His assistant now describes her role this way: “I’m involved in the vision, he delegates freely and leaves me alone to get things done. Everything goes through me so I can get rid of things that don’t need his time and prioritize the rest.”

Are you ready to be that boss and let go?

 

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