One thing I’m struggling with now is doing things myself 😀 . It’s funny now that I say it, but one thing the corporate environment teaches a manager is to delegate. But how does that really work when you start your own business?
Delegation is such a big subject and there are so many views on how it should be done and what you should delegate.
When any of us started out in our first jobs, we usually were “executors”. We had one (or a few) valuable skills and we are hired to just “do” the job. We are very good at working on our own, applying our skills and executing whatever deliverable.
Then we learn to work as part of a team. We learn to communicate when we do something, we learn to ask questions early on, we learn to share our knowledge. If there is anything I ever taught my teams, it was to communicate and help each other. No one person was “done-done” with anything until the last person in the team was “done-done”. Or in other words, a team is as fast as its slowest member. I’m a real team-player as you can see. As a side note, I think I learned this when I was playing voleyball. Team sports are an amazing environment to learn the value of community and the concept of “if we are all happy, then you are happy”.
Gradually, each of us starts emerging from the team through special skills. Every person can stand out through something. And that is when we start leading (by example) with something. Now, when you lead, in order to scale your skills, you need to coach others to get at your level. And that is where delegation comes into play. I won’t go into how some managers are promoted and why some managers are not necessarily good leaders. My point is that, whatever the means got you to a leader’s position, you start learning how to delegate (hopefully). You don’t delegate, you don’t scale. Simple.
As a manager, I learned how to delegate. I also learned how to always oversee the big picture and make sure all the wheels are in place and moving in the right direction so that the car moves towards its destination. Basically, I learned how to coordinate, be proactive and think ahead, so as to avoid accidents. I went even further and I learned how to know my people, what they like, what they don’t enjoy doing, who works better with whom, what problems they have at home and how happy they are with their jobs, etc. I learned everything around the actual execution. Except for executing :D. Well, I do have a technical background and I know a thing or two ( 😛 ), but I also hired smarter people, who execute better. That has been my job for years: building great teams to deliver great products. That is what I do best.
So now, I am starting fresh. Now, I am the executor of my own ideas. Sometimes, I am like “oh, we need to do this and then we will need to do that.. Age, do you think we can document this? Hardeep, do you think you can finish this?” (sorry, guys, for referencing you here 😀 ). Then I look around and I’m like “oh! there’s no one around.. I need to do this!”. Gosh, I miss my Gumtree team hahaha!
Anyway, I guess the point of this post was just to reflect on how being a manager can affect your mindset when it comes down to doing things yourself. And sometimes you only realize it when … well, you have to do things by yourself. And that might include even skills you’ve never used, like UX design or SEO or .. sales. So, do keep that in mind before you decide to quit your job and start something!