By: Clay Eure
As a small business owner, it’s likely that you were trained in a specific specialty and not as a CEO. You started your company because you like working in that specialty, but now it’s gotten to the point where you aren’t enjoying your work as much. You may feel like all you deal with are problems all day long. As soon as one is solved another comes around the corner. The good news is you’re not alone. There are plenty of small business owners out there struggling to keep their heads above water right alongside you. The even better news is that it doesn’t have to be this way! You should be able to enjoy running your company. You should have the flexibility and freedom to focus on doing the things you enjoy doing.
The solution is simple. You need to get the CEO training that you’ve been missing. So to start you off, here are 5 ways you can be a better CEO this week:
1. Clearly Define Every Role in the Company
This is the critical step. By clearly defining what each role is responsible for and what success looks like in that role, you are giving your employees the autonomy they need to perform well. It may sound counterintuitive, but the more clearly you define the roles, the freer employees in those roles are to get their work done properly. They will understand exactly what is expected of them and on what metrics they will be measured and evaluated. It’s as simple as defining what you expect them to accomplish and then getting out of the way so they can get it done.
2. Teach All Leaders How to Give Feedback
Hand-in-hand with clearly defined roles is clear, consistent, candid and caring feedback. You can use these role definitions to have open and honest conversations with your employees about their performance. They need to know not only what is expected of them, but also that you are going to continually hold them accountable to meeting those expectations. Managers should be meeting monthly (at a minimum) with employees to review their performance against these expected outcomes. “You did great on this last month, but you need a little work in this area. Let’s try to improve that this month.” Consistent feedback gives employees an opportunity to improve and grow in their roles, something every employee who values his/her job and hopes to advance wants to do.
3. Create a Talent Acquisition and Development Plan
Chances are you understand very well where your organization’s weaknesses are. But are you doing anything about it? It’s one thing to know you lack good, detail-oriented people in your company; it’s a whole different thing to create and carry out a plan to find and hire the employees needed to plug that gap. You must be deliberate about the hiring of new and the continual development of current employees. This is especially true if you are hoping to eventually hand the company off to one of your employees. Are they ready to take on that responsibility? If not, are you doing anything to help prepare them? You know they’re not just going to wake up one morning ready to take over. Great CEOs are intentional about building up their replacement.
4. Push Authority, Responsibility, and Accountability Down the Org Chart
This is always the hardest step for owners and founders. This organization is your baby. You’ve nurtured and grown it and no one else is as well equipped to take care of it as you are. That’s true. But they also won’t ever be ready to help you run the organization if you don’t give them the opportunity to make decisions and lead projects. They will never be you. There is only one you, but they still have the ability to be great leaders and managers. A great CEO is constantly looking for areas where they can give up some of their control. If it hasn’t already happened, you will eventually tire of having to do everything yourself, and if you haven’t been training and developing the next generation of leaders, you won’t have anyone to share the burden.
5. Do Less, Lead More
The problem for a hardworking founder like yourself is that you end up creating a business that relies too heavily on you, a company in which you are the bottleneck that stalls growth. Eventually, you will have to stop doing all the work yourself. If you’ve followed the first four steps, then you have an organization that is ready to take on the responsibility of running the company. You will still be needed for overall direction and vision and for making the big strategic calls, but you’ll no longer be the one managing the widget makers, let alone making the widgets. The more you stick to these principles, the healthier your organization will become and the less it will need you. You’ll still want to be there, but it won’t be mandatory. Everything can now run smoothly without you. That doesn’t mean you are superfluous, it means you’ve created a healthy, vibrant, valuable organization. Congratulations! Now go take that well-earned vacation!
Doing these five things will not only help you become the CEO your company needs, they will also make your life as a CEO much more enjoyable. So what are you waiting for?
[Related: Do You Really Know What Makes a Good CEO?]
This article was previously published on www.ellevatenetwork.com.