What Executives Fear
The one thing that scares more business owners, executives and managers than anything else: delegating power to employees who might fail.
Only courageous leaders are able to pass down authority, decision-making power and responsibility to those below them. They do this despite the incompetence, inability and inexperience of their people.
History is filled with leaders who could not lead. L. Ron Hubbard uses a South American leader, Simon Bolivar, as an example of how extraordinary people can fail as executives.
Simon Bolivar successfully won the South American revolutionary war against Spain during the 1800’s. After the war he was the richest, most powerful man in South America, but only for a brief period. Because of his mistakes, he was soon kicked out of his country and eventually, died broke.
Bolivar made the same huge mistake most failed executives make. He could not delegate power. It cost him everything.
“Brave beyond any general in history on the battlefield, the Andes or in torrential rivers, he [Simon Bolivar] did not really have the bravery needed to trust inferior minds and stand by their often shocking blunders. He feared their blunders. So he did not dare unleash his many willing hounds.
“He could lead men, make men feel wonderful, make men fight and lay down their lives after hardships no army elsewhere in the world had ever faced before or since. But he could not use men even when they were begging to be used.”
“If you have power, use it or delegate it or you sure won’t have it long.” — L. Ron Hubbard
After winning the revolution against Spain, Bolivar took over and tried to do everything himself. He felt he had to be in charge of everything and make all the decisions.
For example, after the war, some of the richest gold, silver and copper mines in the world were abandoned by the Spanish owners. Bolivar did not allow anyone to take over these mines, even though his officers and troops were sitting around with nothing to do.
He did not assign anyone to take over the justice system, the education system, the roads or the cities. He was afraid that new powerful leaders would hurt the country.
The same thing happens in governments, businesses and groups today.
For example, John has ten smart employees, but he makes all the decisions and does all the important work himself. His staff watch him work very hard. They are not allowed to make decisions, so they wait for John to tell them what to do. His company does not grow and John starts to burn out.
Finally, he gets enough courage to give some authority to his best employee, Jill. “You are now in charge of the work schedules. Sort out the shifts and vacations.”
Jill is happy to take over and posts a new schedule . . . but John gets scared. He worries she will upset the other secretaries. He feels anxiety about her new schedule.
If John is a stupid executive, he will change the schedule. If John is a smart executive, he will leave the schedule alone.
John succeeds as an executive when he delegates entire jobs and lets his people get on with it. He gives staff members room to make mistakes, fix their mistakes and learn from their mistakes. He supports them and leaves them alone.
Recommendations for Business Owners, Executives, Managers and Bosses
1. Make a list of every job you are currently doing yourself.
2. Rate each job according to difficulty. For example, put a 1 by the easiest jobs and a 5 by the hardest jobs. Rate every job from 1-5.
3. Decide who can take over which jobs. Put their name next to the job you will be delegating. You will delegate the easiest jobs first. If you do not currently have a person to take over some of your jobs, use “future” names, such as “Future Marketing Director” or “Future Executive Director.”
4. Delegate each job as fast as possible. Train them, apprentice them and help them succeed. As soon as they know what they are doing and are getting results, leave them alone.
5. With your free time, focus on the big picture; new goals, new territory, new operations and greater success for you and your organization.
Ten Benefits of Delegating Power
1. You can spend more time working on the things you do best.
2. You help others become more competent.
3. You can focus on increasing the productivity and income for your group.
4. People like to work for you as you give them new challenges and new opportunities.
5. You get more done with less effort.
6. Everyone in your group shows more responsibility.
7. Your income goes up.
8 The members of your group earn more pay.
9. Your group grows and expands.
10. You reach your goals and your group’s goals in less time.
If You are Not Yet An Executive . . .
. . . you will be one, if you do the following:
1. Look for opportunities to take on more responsibility. Grab every bit you can. Do not worry about extra pay at this point.
2. When you get a duty assigned to you, get the entire duty assigned. “So if I take on this job, can I make all the related decisions? If I want to try a new approach, can I just go ahead? How should I report my progress to you?”
3. If your boss tries to take back some of the responsibility, bring it up as soon as possible. “Am I still in charge of this duty? If you want to take it back, that is fine with me, I just need to know. If you are really delegating it to me, I’ll need to have full authority over it which means you won’t step in without talking to me first. Is that okay?”
4. As soon as you can, start to delegate duties to people below you so you can take on even more responsibility.
5. You are now an executive! Follow the five recommendations above for executives.