To successfully manage leaders in a fast-growing company you must be able to 1. Trust 2. Understand 3. Get Feedback “The productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker but of the manager,” Peter Drucker
Just because your team seems busy doesn’t mean they are accomplishing essential tasks that will push your company forward. Busy and productive are not the same thing.
According to Bob Sutton, organizational behavior expert at Stanford’s School of Engineering, “Scaling is actually a problem of less.” It is crucial to evaluate how your senior leaders are spending their time. We routinely challenge each other to question whether something is “too hard”. If a task seems too hard, it probably is. At that moment we have opportunities to get better.
Step 1: Trust Your Team
Evaluate duties and proactively delegate assignments to team members based on each persons skill set. The senior leadership team should be focusing on forward looking tasks that that drive change, not busy work.
Step 2: Understand Strengths
Also, make sure that as your company grows, their responsibilities are not becoming more than they can handle. A senior leader in charge of five employees might not be prepared to suddenly be in charge of fifty. It is vital that you know your team and know them well. In my experience failure by a teammate rarely falls on the teammate. More times than not they were put into a situation they were not qualified or ready for. Set them up for success. Use their strengths and work on their weaknesses.
Step 3: Get Feedback
For any company to stay on track, it is necessary for employees to feel accountable for the company’s growth and success. A culture of feedback enables accountability. You want employees to feel comfortable admitting mistakes, helping colleagues reach their goals, or even giving you suggestions. Rather than lengthy evaluations each year, try providing both positive and negative feedback in short spurts throughout the year. Make negative feedback feel like an opportunity, not a punishment.
Don’t just give feedback, ask for it too. You hired your senior leaders for a reason. If they were not smart and full of ideas, you would not have chosen them. Take advantage of that. Not only are you likely to learn something from them, but feedback is more comfortable to take if it goes both ways. One of the most important parts of leadership is listening.