The Do-It-Myselfer

Following Peyton Manning’s retirement speech yesterday, sports fans everywhere reverently reflected on his football legacy. He served the Colts and the Broncos from 1998 to 2016. A five-time league MVP, he won two Super Bowls and currently holds the record for the most NFL career passing touchdowns. His achievements are impressive, as was his recent performance in Super Bowl 50. He was not however, the MVP of Super Bowl 50.  It was his talent accompanied by the coaching and skills of others that propelled him to his impressive NFL performance. After all, what good is a quarterback without someone to catch the ball?

Business, similar to football, should be a team effort. Some executives and managers live and work by the credo, “If I want it done right, I have to do it myself.” Although when developing a company, it is tempting to juggle all responsibilities to save capital, the completely independent leader will eventually run him or herself into the ground.

The Do-It-Yourself attitude has become a common business approach in today’s turbulent marketplace. A fear of spending money on staffing and outsourcing, or of losing complete control, deters some leaders from allocating the workload. Spending money on help not only saves the employer time, but can increase company profit.

The most precious resource for any business owner is time. The Harvard Business Review article, “Make Time for the Work that Matters,” discusses how one can potentially free up 20% of the workday simply through allocating tasks. Not only does delegation relieve the owner from devoting hours to assignments easily completed by another employee, but it can also improve company performance. The article continues, sharing an example of delegation through Lotta Laitinen, a manager at a Scandinavian Insurance Company, who began apportioning administrative tasks and increasing the time spent with her sales team. Within three weeks, her unit’s sales increased by 5%.

Delegation is not limited to sharing some easy work with an assistant or a junior associate. You can also delegate to someone who is more of an expert. Part of being a successful leader requires looking inward and asking: where do I fall short? It is not an incompetency, it is humanity. Management expert, Ken Blanchard, stated, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” Distributing a project to a more suitable candidate demonstrates self-awareness, prioritization, and strength in leadership. Although rugged individualism is a virtue in certain instances, knowing when to rely on the assistance of others is the mark of a true leader and a ticket to success.

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