A few months back, the MD of a High Flyers Member company was forced to step into the shoes of a senior key member of staff due to long term sickness. It was a topic of discussion sometime later that led the MD to exclaim.
“What a revelation!”
Being forced into taking up duties that were the responsibility of the absent staff member, outlined, vividly, and with clarity, just how easy it is to assume all is well, only to find out it’s the reverse.
It can be easy to set things in motion and, because you’re busy, assume everything is being done properly, is running smoothly and returns are being maximised in your business. However, if you’re not checking, if you aren’t coaching your key people and having regular discussions where proof can be shown … your estimation that ‘all is well’ could be way off. That might not just be a real issue, it could be costing you a fortune and, potentially, be very damaging to your business.
What this MD told us was that, stepping into the void highlighted where there were failings in the company that were simply not being addressed. It had led repeatedly to issues for customers and for the company, and had created unrest and division amongst the entire team.
With the MD stepping in, the development and implementation of far better internal, and external communications, combined with processes and control systems, have driven up efficiencies dramatically. Productivity across the whole company has increased and, as the team are able to see the benefits of these improvements to themselves as individuals, they’re buying into it, resulting in efficiencies and productivity increasing further still.
The staff member in question, now returned to work, is only working on areas where their abilities and strengths can be maximised, so they also are far happier and also being more productive.
So, the bottom line is, delegation is fine, abdication of responsibility isn’t. It can have horrendous consequences. The difference between the two is coaching and accountability.
Having processes that ensure the right things happen regularly, consistently and systemically means that your Managers will feel supported, the team will feel that you’re in control, which removes angst and your people will become more comfortable in completing their roles.
Transparency is important and the structure for leadership is key. A simple example might be that when you ask someone if they have done something – you then check that it has been done, don’t just take it on faith.
When you do the simple things properly, efficiencies improve.