CEOs are often seen as major control freaks. About a decade ago, I would have agreed to this perception whole heartedly. That is because back then, I was a firm believer of the saying “If you want it done right, do it yourself” and boy, did I do a lot of things myself! I was doing the work of half a dozen people because I didn’t trust them enough to be able to do it right even if I screened, interviewed, and handed out their job offers myself.
This all changed when I missed the birth of my son. I can still remember that day very clearly. I was stuck in a meeting with an advertising agency I just hired to launch a campaign for my company. I had my advertising and marketing executive with me in the meeting but I just couldn’t bring myself to leave him alone with the team the agency assigned to handle our account. I was so engrossed in the meeting that I didn’t bother to pick up my phone when my mother-in-law called. Little did I know, she was calling to let me know that my wife had already gone into labor and my son was due to come out in the next couple of hours.
By the time I finally checked my phone, my little boy had already been born and I missed the whole thing. I was very upset and disappointed in myself that I cried and apologized to my wife profusely when I got to the hospital. From then on, I vowed to delegate tasks so I would never miss another important family event.
Learning to delegate was not easy for me. During the first few months, I worried incessantly about the tasks I assigned to my subordinates. But little by little, I realized that I had nothing to worry about because not only did they get the job done, the results were better than I expected. Over time, I learned to stop calling them every hour to get updates on their progress.
Aside from the extra time on my hands, there were other benefits to delegating tasks. First of all, I learned to trust my employees. I guess one of the main reasons why I refused to delegate was because I didn’t have enough confidence in my people. I just didn’t trust that they could get the job done much less do it better than me. I forgot that the reason why I hired them was because they were experts in their field.
Next, I was able to focus on other aspects of my business because I was able to see the bigger picture. I realized that because I was working on so many things at once, I was failing to see aspects that hindered the growth of my company. But because I delegated, I was able to focus on the growth of my company. Since then, my company has expanded to 50% more than when I started.
Lastly, I was able to earn the trust and respect of my employees. I saw that my people were happier because they were finally able to put their skills to use and experienced a growth in their careers. This is perhaps one of the biggest benefits of them all because everyone knows that one of the keys to a successful business is keeping employees happy.