I was recently reflecting on a conversation I had with the owner of a growing florist business. Sales are good which is wonderful, however, things have become more difficult to manage because of the increased workload. The staff consists of very competent employees yet the owner still has difficulty letting go of some tasks. As a business owner, I understand how hard it is to delegate and rely on others when it comes to the seed you planted that is now blossoming. It’s easy to get “caught in the weeds.” The problem with not letting go is you not only create chaos for yourself, you send the wrong message to your team. When you are hesitant to delegate responsibilities, offer training and coaching, and empower them, you are in essence saying you don’t trust them.
As I thought more about this conversation, it came to me that this business owner should look at how to develop the leadership that already exists within the team that hasn’t been discovered. Metaphorically speaking, the seeds are there, they just need to be fertilized and nurtured and they will take root and grow!
To begin creating organizational development opportunities, take out your pen and paper (or tablet for the tech folks) and start making notes (you’ll likely jot things down, step away, and come back to them later so it’s important to capture your thoughts along the way). The first thing you’ll need to think about are the skills and talents you need to handle different aspects of the business. Then you’ll need to think about what members of the team have demonstrated strengths or have potential to develop in these areas. Then it’s a matter of implementing some key leadership principles to get them on their way toward becoming your leadership team:
· Ownership – give your team members a sense of ownership. Include them in some of the decision-making activities or pose questions to them when you are making decisions to get their opinions. This will allow them to feel vested in the process and serve as a way of encouraging them to share ideas without being prompted.
· Learning Opportunities – training classes aren’t always feasible as they often come at a price. However, there are free training resources available as well as opportunities for your team members to develop skills just by doing.
· Delegate – delegate according to the strengths of your team members. If you don’t know them, you can ask or take the strength assessment by Gallup http://www.amazon.com/Discover-Your-Strengths-Marcus-Buckingham/dp/0743201140/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431011949&sr=1-1&keywords=now+discover+your+strengths%27
Most people like to take on new challenges even though they may not have as much experience as you. They will need tender loving care (just as your flowers do). Allow them to be innovative, do not expect them to be an exact replica of yourself, and leave room for mistakes – which often times are the best lessons for any business.
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