When Growing your Business, Don’t be a Hero (for too long)
A hero knows what’s right, what to do, and how to do it. The team depends on this individual as their guiding force. As your business grows, transition from a hero to a leader and allow the rest of the team to take ownership and responsibility. By empowering your team, you as a leader, can innovate and build your company for future growth.
(1) Hire the Best
Each hire serves a critical role in building a better, smarter, and faster organization. This includes everyone from the assistant answering the phones, the designer choosing the right color palette, to the salesperson closing a big deal. Hiring world-class employees adds new subject matter expertise and minimizes the team’s overall learning curve. By hiring the best and expecting excellence, you can transition from the hero in a specific domain to a leader that offers guidance and problem solving to your employees.
(2) Make yourself Obsolete
Set your team up for success by sharing all of your best practices. Envision a timeline to when you will exit the company and will no longer be needed. In that short amount of time, work to build team capabilities and streamline processes and operations. Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator, covers the pitfalls of staying in hero mode too long in his Stanford startup course (start listening from 4:42). Continue to push the team to be their best as one day they will be running the show.
(3) Encourage Innovation
As the team starts to mature and less oversight is needed, transition from teacher to idea champion. With less of your time spent on the day to day operations, rely on the people who understand the intricacies of the job to build on the existing infrastructure. Listen to the team’s recommendations and implement their ideas. While taking this position can lead to mistakes, it will ultimately bear a better solution, product, or service.
While letting go and entrusting your team can be daunting, a good leader hires the best and expects excellence. By setting up processes and encouraging innovation, the team’s aptitude and performance improves. Your team does not need a hero, it needs a leader.