Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
There are certainly a lot of talented people out there! Trusting them to help guide your company in the right direction is only the first step. It is also vital to trust yourself that you made the right decision in hiring said talented person.
In the fast-paced and ever-evolving landscape of business, entrepreneurs are the driving force behind innovation, economic growth and job creation. Their vision, determination and risk-taking abilities are often the catalysts that lead to the creation of successful enterprises. However, as businesses expand and challenges mount, entrepreneurs must navigate the delicate balance between maintaining control and delegating responsibility.
One crucial aspect that can significantly impact the trajectory of a company is the level of trust entrepreneurs place in their employees to run the business. By entrusting high-ranking employees and subsequent staff with substantial responsibilities, entrepreneurs can unlock a myriad of benefits that propel their companies toward sustainable success.
Related: The Biggest Obstacle Facing Leaders Is Distrust. Here’s How to Build Confidence in Your Team.
Fostering a culture of innovation
Trusting employees to run a company cultivates an environment where innovation flourishes. When employees are empowered to make decisions and take ownership of their work, they are more likely to explore new ideas and strategies. This empowerment sends a clear message that their insights and contributions are valued, thereby igniting their enthusiasm to contribute creatively.
Google’s famous “20% time,” where employees are encouraged to spend a fifth of their work hours on personal projects, is a prime example of how trust can lead to groundbreaking innovations. This policy has resulted in products like Gmail and Google Maps, demonstrating that when employees are given autonomy, they can become catalysts for revolutionary ideas.
Enhancing employee engagement and satisfaction
Fostering a trusting environment sends a strong signal of respect and confidence in their abilities. This affirmation fosters a sense of belonging and dedication among employees, leading to higher levels of engagement and job satisfaction. When employees feel trusted, they are more likely to take pride in their work and invest extra effort into their tasks. This, in turn, contributes to higher productivity and improved performance across the organization.
The iconic case of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group exemplifies this principle. Branson’s hands-off management style and trust in his employees have created a workforce that is not only fiercely loyal but also highly motivated to contribute their best to the company’s success.
Empowering leadership development
It is a powerful mechanism for nurturing leadership skills within the organization when entrepreneurs trust their employees to see the job through. When employees are given the autonomy to make decisions and solve problems, they have the opportunity to develop crucial leadership qualities such as decision-making, strategic thinking and adaptability. These skills are honed through practical experience rather than theoretical training, resulting in a cadre of capable leaders who can guide the company through times of change and uncertainty.
Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, famously championed the idea of pushing decision-making down to the lowest levels of the organization, which not only improved the efficiency of operations but also created a pipeline of capable leaders.
Driving organizational agility
In today’s dynamic business landscape, adaptability is paramount for survival and success. Entrepreneurs who entrust their employees to run the company are better positioned to respond swiftly to changing market conditions and emerging opportunities. When employees have the authority to make decisions without unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles, the company becomes more agile and capable of seizing competitive advantages.
This was evident in the case of Zappos, the online shoe and clothing retailer, where CEO Tony Hsieh built a culture of trust and autonomy. This culture enabled Zappos to quickly pivot its business model when needed, contributing to its resilience and eventual success.
Nurturing continuous learning
Entrepreneurs who trust their employees to run the company recognize that learning is a lifelong journey. When employees are given responsibilities that challenge them and require them to make decisions, they engage in continuous learning and growth. Each decision, whether successful or not, provides valuable insights that contribute to personal and professional development. This culture of learning not only benefits employees but also enriches the organization as a whole.
Companies like 3M, known for their innovation and research-driven culture, have thrived by trusting employees to explore new concepts and experiment with ideas, fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
Related: 5 Ways to Integrate Employee Autonomy Into Your Culture
Mitigating entrepreneurial burnout
The life of an entrepreneur is often characterized by long hours, intense pressure and the weight of countless decisions. Entrusting employees to share the burden of running the company can alleviate the risk of entrepreneurial burnout. When entrepreneurs trust their team members to handle various aspects of the business, they can focus their energy on high-level strategic thinking, innovation and building key relationships. This not only improves the entrepreneur’s well-being but also allows them to play to their strengths, driving the company’s growth more effectively.
Additionally, delegating tasks successfully is a crucial skill for entrepreneurs to master as their businesses grow and evolve. Effective delegation not only allows entrepreneurs to focus on strategic priorities but also empowers their team members and fosters a culture of collaboration. Below is a collection of ways entrepreneurs can successfully achieve delegation:
1. Clearly define responsibilities: Start by clearly defining the tasks or projects you want to delegate. Outline the goals, expectations and desired outcomes to ensure everyone is on the same page.
2. Choose the right person: Match the task with the skills, strengths and interests of the team member. Consider their expertise and passion to ensure a higher chance of success.
3. Provide context: Communicate the context behind the task. Explain how it fits into the bigger picture, the reasons for its importance and how it aligns with the company’s goals.
4. Set SMART goals: Establish Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound (S.M.A.R.T.) goals for the delegated task. This provides a clear framework for both you and the team member.
5. Empower with authority: Delegate the necessary authority and decision-making power to the team member. This empowers them to make choices and take ownership of the task.
6. Offer support and resources: Ensure that the team member has the resources, tools and support they need to accomplish the task. This might include information, training or access to experts.
7. Provide clear instructions: Clearly communicate the steps, processes and guidelines required to complete the task. Avoid assumptions, and be available to answer any questions.
8. Encourage autonomy: Allow the team member to execute the task in their own way, while still adhering to the agreed-upon goals and guidelines. This encourages creativity and innovation.
9. Establish check-in points: Set up regular check-in points to monitor progress, address any concerns and provide feedback. This helps prevent misunderstandings and allows for course corrections if needed.
10. Recognize and appreciate: Acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the team member. Whether the outcome is a success or a learning experience, provide constructive feedback and recognition for their commitment.
11. Learn from mistakes: If things don’t go as planned, view it as a learning opportunity for both you and the team member. Analyze what went wrong, identify lessons, and apply them in the future.
12. Develop growth opportunities: Delegation can be a platform for team members’ growth. Assign tasks that challenge them and help them acquire new skills, advancing their professional development.
13. Communicate openly: Maintain open lines of communication throughout the delegation process. Encourage the team member to share updates, concerns or questions without hesitation.
14. Balance workload: Avoid overloading a single team member with too many tasks. Distribute responsibilities evenly among the team to prevent burnout and ensure effectiveness.
15. Recognize different approaches: Understand that team members might have different approaches to completing tasks. Embrace diversity in problem-solving, and encourage multiple perspectives.
16. Lead by example: Demonstrate your own willingness to delegate by entrusting important tasks to others. When your team sees you practicing what you preach, they’ll be more likely to follow suit.
17. Focus on outcomes: Shift the focus from micromanaging the process to monitoring the outcomes. As long as the desired results are achieved, allow flexibility in how the task is completed.
18. Address roadblocks: If the team member encounters obstacles, be prepared to step in and provide guidance or assistance. Address roadblocks promptly to keep the task on track.
19. Reflect and adjust: After the task is completed, reflect on the delegation process. Identify what worked well and areas that could be improved for future tasks.
20. Celebrate success: Celebrate the successful completion of delegated tasks. Publicly acknowledge the team member’s efforts and the positive impact on the company.
Related: Learning to Let Go of Control and Delegate Can Be Hard. Here Are 3 Components to Make It Easier.
Successful delegation is a vital skill that entrepreneurs must master as their businesses grow. By clearly defining responsibilities, choosing the right team members, providing context and support, and fostering autonomy, entrepreneurs can empower their teams, streamline operations and free up valuable time for strategic pursuits. Effective delegation not only benefits the entrepreneur but also contributes to a more motivated and engaged team, ultimately leading to business success.
The benefits of trusting employees to run your companies are far-reaching and profound. From fostering innovation and enhancing engagement to nurturing leadership development and driving organizational agility, it can transform a business from a one-person show into a thriving and sustainable enterprise.
Entrepreneurs who recognize the power of trust as a catalyst for growth position their companies on a trajectory of success, leveraging the collective abilities and potential of their entire team. As the business landscape continues to evolve, the role of trust in enabling entrepreneurial success remains steadfast, guiding visionary leaders toward a brighter future.