As an entrepreneur, at some point you'll be hiring other people to work for you. Maybe that includes independent contractors, affiliates or other employees. If you want to maximize your success, you'll have to become at the very least, proficient in the art of managing others.
The common approach involves providing last minute instructions, clarification and communications every step of the way, again and again, in a hodgepodge system. It's a recipe for management hell for you and your team. There's a better way to go about it.
To maximize performance, simply design your management mindset and work experience around the kid brother rule.
Use the kid brother rule.
Imagine that you will be delegating work to a naive, lovable, less experienced kid brother who is five years younger than you. You have a high regard for his well being and your shared success together. You'd probably take greater care to ensure he had everything he needed to succeed, and that's exactly what you should do for your team.
Lower your expectations of others while increasing your responsibility for the preparation of the work.
Having a brilliant team can actually work against us. Assuming everyone you've hired is brilliant conveniently allows you to raise your expectations and feel comfortable handing off a puzzle or mess for them to figure out. As funny as it can be, the goal isn't to hand off half-baked instructions and expect and demand success, yet this is common practice even for senior managers.
Would you do that to your kid brother? Not if you wanted to get things done.
In fact you probably wouldn't expect your kid brother to be as experienced, aware and in touch with the business as yourself. By lowering your expectations of their ability to understand everything and get it right the first time, while raising your responsibility level, you can pave the way to set them up for success.
Start organizing what's directly under your control.
All too often, business owners hand off and delegate messes, where the scope of work is ill-defined, the instructions are vague, and little to no preliminary work has been done. This is like telling your kid brother to go build a tree house for you, when he has little to no idea which tree to use, where exactly to start, how to work a saw, or what it should look like. This habit sets you and your team up for failure and frustration.
If you applied the kid brother rule, and prepared things accordingly with compassion, responsibility, and mutual desire to succeed; you'd provide greater clarity and precision, decreasing the time and effort to manage and do the work. Performance would also improve since a job that's easier to do is more likely to get done and done on time.
Shifting your focus to the organization of the work itself, the collection of tasks, processes, methods, how well they're documented and communicated will greatly decrease the management and oversight requirements. If the work is well organized, and the processes are clean, all that's left is to effectively communicate and share them to whomever you're delegating the work.
Get the details and instructions on paper in complete sentences.
A reality that many forget when it comes to managing and delegating is that unless you can telepathically convey the essential knowledge, you'll need to do the preliminary prep work upfront by providing clarity and context in documentation. The better you document things and organize them for reference upfront, the less time and effort you'll have to spend conveying last minute information to keep the work going. As with doing anything with your kid brother, you need to do much of the thinking in advance.
Optimize the work first, then optimize the people.
Refining the work is often easier than trying to improve the people, and such gains add lasting value to the business in perpetuity. So it make sense to look for opportunities to improve the work first and ensure it's ready for your kid brother.
Treating more of your team like your lovable albeit, sometimes naive kid brother will help you incorporate more grace, guidance, compassion and encouragement that will support their highest level of performance. As a manager and owner, becoming known for these traits will attract not only better opportunities but better talent, which in turn you can put to work for you to create a better work product.