For many business owners or even a department managers, letting go of responsibilities and trusting someone else with them can be hard to do. After all if you want something done right, you should do it yourself, right? Wrong. That’s terrible advice, and probably came from someone who refused to trust their employees to do their work and make decisions. It’s ridiculous to think you can do it all yourself or that you have to do it all yourself. The truth is, when you let go of some of that responsibility or some of those tasks you free yourself up for more important tasks (setting the path for the future of your dealership) and maybe even some that are more fun (actually allowing yourself to take a break once in awhile).
When we went out to California this past fall to visit with Kern Machinery, owner Clayton Camp said, “As you encourage and empower good people, you find you’re more willing to turn it over to them.” He went on to say, “The top down thing worked 30 years ago, but not anymore. One person can’t maintain all of what’s necessary, and even if you could, the rest of the crew doesn’t want that.”
Granted before you can get to empowering your employees, you need to have good people you trust in place first. Once you’ve established that trust, you’ve got to let them grow. They may need some guidance and advice along the way, but encourage them to make the decision on their own and be confident about it. When facing a decision I was recently told, “It’s your decision to make. Trust your gut and don’t second guess your instincts.” That little bit of encouragement and trust went a long way. While I had already come to a conclusion on a decision, the validation that I can and should make the decision on my own helped make me more confident in that decision.
If you want your employees to grow, you have to give them the room and opportunity to do so. There may be mistakes made along the way, but lessons usually follow those mistakes. (If the lesson isn’t learned, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate that employee.) If you’re not ready to completely hand over the reigns, get him involved in your decision making process. Ask him what he would do and why. Then, share with him how you would handle it and the reasons for it. This may make the process a little longer in the short term, but after some time he will have the understanding and confidence to make the decision on his own. And you’ll have the trust to allow him to make the decision on his own.