For an entrepreneur to grow their business, they need to challenge their employees to move them forward to higher levels. As we build our team, we must delegate tasks that others can do and also strengthen ourselves in those that only we can do, based on what is best for our company. But when we assign new responsibilities to someone we supervise, how do we know they are truly up to and ready for the opportunity? In my opinion, it’s in the eyes.
When you have a conversation with the goal of giving new directives to someone, especially when it’s a real stretch for them, look in their eyes to see how they react. Do you see fear or excitement? Often they can seem the same. If someone is petrified over what has just been added to their plate, you may be setting them up to fail. On the other hand, if the challenge is not powerful enough, they may underperform and not learn to reach and stretch to achieve greater things. But while you discuss the topic, use your discernment (if you are building a business and expanding, you have learned some along the way) to look deeply and consider, is this the right person to delegate this level of responsibility to at this time?
How do we know they are getting it? This is important to their success in navigating to the new or expanded goals you have now assigned. If they are not too scared to dive in, you still need to assess if they can get the job done and meet your expectations. Ask them to give their impression of what you are requesting they do and listen close.
Are they ready for the next steps? You need to know they are. If not, this is the time to take it back or tamp it down a bit so that they can achieve whatever it is you decide is best. Do they know where to go for help? It should not always be you. Yes, they must know you are ultimately there for high-level direction, but until you give them the reins, they will never truly learn how to handle the hurdles ahead. If you truly want to build a successful business, you cannot be there for every decision, and you must trust those you hired to get the job done right.
Example is the best way to teach others how to handle obstacles. Above all, your example is key in all you do to further develop the enterprise you have worked so hard to build. What you would do will often be your subordinates first thought, but they must move beyond you to formulating their own solutions. The hope is that one day, they may even do it better than you, which really should be the ultimate goal for any business owner.