A lot of remodeling company owners talk a good game about delegation and accountability, but their actions make it clear they still believe they're indispensable. That attitude may have been essential when your company was just getting off the ground, but it's not anymore. The biggest mistake you can make as an owner is to insist on doing everything yourself. Your employees, field and office staff alike, are full of ideas about how to make your business better and more profitable. All they ask is that you get out of their way.
What employees want
Letting go isn't easy for control-obsessed business owners, but the alternative is worse. By insisting on having the last word on everything your company does, you not only reinforce your own bad habits, you stifle creativity and positive change and create an unmanageable work environment for your employees.
If you want to let go of the reins but don't know how, here are the first three things to give up:
Responsibility. Don't confuse a transfer of responsibility with accountability. It's easy to make an employee accountable, but unless you give away the authority to make decisions, all you'll be left with is someone to blame. Real responsibility also includes freedom to make mistakes, freedom to fail. If this worries you, think for a minute about how long your business has survived despite all the boo-boos you've made as owner.
Information. No one can make good decisions without good information -- and lots of it. If you want your employees to function independently, they need to know what you know about the business. This includes not just the financials, client histories, details of supplier and subcontractor relationships, pricing strategies, and marketing goals, but sales projections, staffing assessments, and long-term growth goals. Most important, you need to communicate the company mission clearly enough so employees understand it the same way you do. And you need to make sure they know how they fit into the scheme of things, particularly their place in the company's future.
Solutions. None of this will do any good if you continue to insist on solving all the problems yourself. Your employees already know more about their jobs than you do, and if you transfer responsibility correctly, they'll soon know even more. Make sure your newly empowered employees understand that you expect them to come up with solutions.
Then take the final step: Get out of their way.