As an entrepreneur, you were probably the force and the fire behind your idea, long before anyone else jumped on board. You have probably lobbied endlessly for your idea, and the chances are that you still love it more than anyone.
As your company expands and you struggle to juggle, it may become clear that you can't tend to your growing team's needs and keep up with all your work as well. The time has come to recruit seasoned management.
So is there a chip you can download from your brain and upload onto that of your manager? Not exactly. I'm learning this lesson as I navigate through this challenging transition.
Here are a few things I've learned:
1. Patience is an art, not a virtue. Mastering it is the virtue.
No human being can come onboard and know everything about your business operations in the first month. Regardless of his or her brilliance, experience, and skills, it might take some time for the new person to get used how things work in your company. You've been raising this baby since its inception, and this person is just adopting it as his or her own. The skill with which you handle your patience--or lack thereof--will dictate whether or not your employee has the highest probability of succeeding.
2. Releasing control is a hard, hard thing for a control freak. But there is no growth without delegating.
Clinging on to the joyride of chaos and hoping that, in the long-term, all that energy will prove to be a positive, is probably not the best course of action.
If you love your company, you're going to have to release control of certain departments at some point. That's not easy to do, and it might everything will not flow as smoothly as you'd like it to at first. But there's only 24 hours in the day, and if you want to think about strategies for growth, for instance, you can't be worried about warehouse efficiency. Someone else needs to. And you're going to have to let them work it out.
3. Your true value as an entrepreneur is not in managing. It's in innovating.
Most entrepreneurs I've met (including myself) are not the best managers. They are inventors, creators, movers, shakers... believers. They may be the essence of the business, but that doesn't mean they're the best person to order office supplies.
Bottom line: You can't take on the world alone. You need a strong, competent team behind you. And if you want to keep them happy, satisfied, and ready to take on more challenges, you need the right person to lead them. The truth is, that may not be you.
Truth be told, I am not the preacher in this story. I am the student. I've had the wonderful pleasure of having a CEO coach who has walked me through this laborious process. Letting go might be one of the hardest things I've done, but it may be one of the most rewarding. Just like a bird watching its offspring hatch, you have to let your team fly. It might ding itself up a bit while it learns, but you have to trust in its ability to dust itself off and soar.