CEO’s Know They Cannot Do It All: Getting Into Delegation!
One of the greatest challenges ALL small business owners face is recognizing what tasks they should do themselves and what tasks they can delegate to team members. Letting go of responsibility is hard – but it is also essential!
CEOs recognize that even the smallest of businesses have so many moving parts, all crying out for attention, that it is impossible for any one person to be responsible for all of them. In your evolution from “small business owner” to “small business CEO,” you need to learn to delegate effectively.
Yet dentists who hold onto that “small business owner” mindset have told me that, compared to non-dentists, it is harder for them to learn to delegate. The reason they give me is their expectation of perfection.
Working in an area as small as the human mouth is extremely demanding. Even the slightest variation of a margin can have a significant impact on the outcome for a patient. Consequently, dentists work diligently to achieve a standard of perfection in their clinical work.
The challenge is that once that perfection switch has been turned on, it is very difficult to turn off. The expectation of perfection in the operatory then extends into an expectation of perfection in the business and administrative side of the practice.
This usually leads to one of two scenarios:
Scenario One: The dentist simply does not assign tasks to their team members. “Nobody can do it as well as me so why bother!” This results in an over-extended, burned-out dentist and a team that feels uninspired and totally lacking in motivation due to your lack of trust in them.
Scenario Two: The dentist seems to delegate some tasks. However, they then micro-manage the performance of those tasks to the point you wonder “why did they bother?” How motivated will your team feel with you breathing down their necks every step of the way?
When I challenge dentists on this, I usually hear the same response: “How else can I be sure things are getting done the way I want?”
The short answer is you won’t be sure! It is very likely that things will not be done exactly as you would like them.
But they will get done!
The “small business owner” dentist may find this approach stressful, as if all they are doing is delegating and then hoping for the best. But that is not the case! I am not advocating that you delegate and then forget about it.
Instead, adopt the “small business CEO” approach and make sure your team is trained to take on the tasks you assign to them. Don’t just leave them to figure things out for themselves! Give them the skills and the tools to excel right from the start. They will feel more job satisfaction and you won’t have to deal with the consequences of as many costly mistakes.
Now some mistakes may still happen! So make sure you have follow up systems that catch those mistakes before they become costly to you. When you spot those errors, you may decide additional training is needed to further improve overall team performance.
Your team will learn, grow and develop a sense of empowerment from your confidence in them. And you will spend less time working on tasks best assigned to others.
Your success as the CEO of your practice depends on your ability to let go. Move away from the belief that everything has to be done to perfection and that you are the only one capable of achieving that standard.
Entrust and empower your team so they can help you grow and succeed. Accept the mistakes but rely on your follow-up and training to reduce their frequency.
It is what a good CEO would do!