Leaders: Stop Micromanaging and Do This Instead
By Clate Mask • Feb 9, 2023
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
One of the most common complaints of entrepreneurs is, "I'm doing everything and can't get it all done!" I've been there, and I know just how easy it is to take everything on yourself until you end up completely overwhelmed.
But there's no glory in being an entrepreneurial martyr, and certainly no business sense in it either. It's time for entrepreneurs to stop thinking it's their job to pile on the hats, despite the costs. Here's what to do instead.
As a business owner, there are certain things you and you alone should own. Namely, the big-picture tasks of setting your company's vision and protecting your brand. This has always been hugely important to me, to the extent that some might say I'm territorial about it. But you have to be.
You created your brand, and you know it better than anyone else. You know what products or services will align with your mission and vision and what could threaten what you're trying to build. As the business owner, you might choose to retain ownership over partnerships. This way, you ensure any partners you engage with have the same commitment to quality you do so that joining forces with them will strengthen your brand rather than weaken it.
To stop taking responsibility for every single part of your business, you need a team to support you. What is the best way to create one? Don't hire to replace yourself; hire for your weaknesses. In other words, don't hire people like you who share similar strengths. Hire folks with wildly different skill sets and even opposing perspectives, so you can have a robust team that fills all your gaps.
If you're unsure of your strengths and weaknesses, it's worth taking the time to figure them out. First, consider what areas of the business only you can handle. Maybe it's strategic planning, forming strong vendor relationships, or managing production. Also, think about the parts of the business you enjoy. Your strengths won't always magically line up with the fun parts of entrepreneurship, but there's a good chance the areas where you naturally excel are also the areas you're drawn toward.
Next, consider where you've had hiccups in your business. Even if you're a young company, the odds are that you've encountered friction at least a few times. Was it when you tried to handle customer service? Did you flub a technical matter? Being honest in conducting a self-assessment will help you determine the exact types of people you need most.
This will help you create a more functional business and prioritize properly to protect your brand. Of course, there's one major caveat: none of this will work if you insist on micromanaging. You have to have enough trust in your team to give them the autonomy to execute their roles.
As a business owner, you shouldn't be the one stepping in to comment about the color of a banner ad in a newsletter or weighing in on email copy (unless graphic design and marketing are your strengths). The little things should be left to the people you hired to own them. If you can't trust them to make decisions, you need to hire new people or do the hard work required to relinquish control.
Wearing all the hats as an entrepreneur is unsustainable and not in your business's best interest. It results in burnout and pulls you away from the areas where you contribute the most. By prioritizing, hiring for your weaknesses and trusting your team, you'll go much further and faster.
Related: What Happens When You Empower Employees Instead of Micromanage Them?