Hiring employees is supposed to free up your time. The goal is after we get past the initial hump of recruiting and onboarding, that having that extra person on the team will help free up your time to do more higher level tasks. That is the goal at least. But for many business owners, managing your staff ends up being more work than you anticipated, and actually takes you away from the higher level items on your to-do list.
So, how do you go from doing all the heavy lifting in the employer-employee relationship to actually freeing up your time to work on the bigger picture? After 25 years of business coaching, I can say that there is one big thing that makes a huge difference in your productivity and management of employees.
Give Them Ownership
As a business owner, your to-do list is already pretty full. And once you add on all the tasks and follow up items for your various team members it becomes unmanageable. The trick to making it easier? Stop keeping track.
Now stay with me...the idea might be scary to some...but it is worth doing.
You shouldn't have to keep track of all of your employees deliverables or follow up with notes after a meeting. You should flip the tables.
Make it part of your company culture, that each team member keeps track of their own items and discussion points for meetings and follow up tasks. Then ask them to email you those notes as a recap after meetings. The recaps should list all of the different deliverables, when they're due, and how that team member plans to close the loop on them.
Not only does this system help free up your time, but allows the employees to really own their role and their ability to succeed. It also creates an instant feedback loop that will help tasks get completed faster with less missed items.
Here's how we do it here at Maui Mastermind. While the meeting is still fresh in their mind, a team member will write up a recap of a meeting, complete with action steps and send it to the others that attended the meeting. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page, and allow time for clarification or a smoother hand off if needed.
I have found that often times, this method will reveal deliverables that were not properly handed off to team members. Let's say that we had a team meeting and I wanted Alicia to do tasks A,B,C and D. But in her recap she only mentions tasks C and D. I would then follow up and make sure that she understood what tasks where expected of her and further clarify the project.
Over time you will begin to notice why items are miscommunicated and become better about being clear about your expectations on deliverables during meetings. You can say something like, "Hey, this is a deliverable I'm expecting from you by this date and here's how I want you to close the loop on it." Using that explicit language will help smooth handoffs.
The goal is to build a business, not a job. And my best advice for managing your staff: Stop keeping track and give them ownership.